As BlackBerry prepares for a possible $4.7 billion buyout, the company is getting itself into shape for both the sale and a shift in focus to its enterprise solutions offerings. In addition to the possible sale of some of its Ontario real estate, part of this process involves another round of huge layoffs that will see as much as 40% of the company's already-reduced workforce depart.
The layoffs are set to take place in batches over the next few months, and the first round of those cuts has now begun. The Globe and Mail this week reported that BlackBerry on Monday began laying off off around 300 employees from its Waterloo, Ontario facilities.
A BlackBerry spokesperson was quoted by the publication as saying the company is "in a period of transition" and that the cuts will help "enhance" its financial results to better compete in the mobile space. The company also stated that it recognizes the "difficulty of this news."
BlackBerry is expected to release a total of at least 4,500 employees in this latest round of layoffs. This will put the company's estimated workforce at fewer than 8,000 total employees. In the Spring of 2012, BlackBerry had announced its total workforce as more than 16,000 employees.
The layoffs had been announced even before the BlackBerry buyout deal was made public. The deal would put BlackBerry in control of a group of investors led by FairFax Financial Holdings. The group's due diligence period is expected to end on November 4, with BlackBerry open to other offers until that time. Late last month BlackBerry released a dismal quarterly report, detailing nearly $1 billion in losses.