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BlackBerry says it will shut down its office in Halifax in January


October 10, 2013
By The Canadian Press

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BlackBerry says its office in Halifax will shut down in January, a move that will lay off 350 workers.

The company says the closure is necessary in order to refocus its business to generate profits in a competitive mobile
phone industry.

In a statement, BlackBerry says it will repay the $2 million it received from the Nova Scotia government that was given to help create jobs.

The company had already announced 300 people were being laid off at its head office in Waterloo, Ont., as part of a broader cost-cutting plan that will reduce its workforce by about 40 per cent.

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The firm began handing out the notices on Monday, though the cuts have been ongoing across its global operations for several weeks.

BlackBerry plans to eliminate 4,500 jobs over the coming months.

Once the job cuts are complete, BlackBerry will have cut more than 7,000 employees since 2011, a steep decline from a total staff that once neared 20,000.

In September, BlackBerry received a conditional takeover offer from Fairfax Financial, BlackBerry’s largest shareholder, worth $9 per share. The offer values the company at $4.7 billion.

Other interested buyers are also circling the company, according to reports from various media outlets. The tech names run the gamut from Google, Cisco and SAP to Microsoft.

Last week, BlackBerry said it expects to face costs of at least US$400 million before the end of May 2014. The expenses are tied to the severance payments for the layoffs, as well as reworking its smartphone lineup and other changes to its manufacturing, sales and marketing operations.

BlackBerry also filed documents last week with regulators that showed sales of its new BlackBerry 10 devices have been faltering.