BlackBerry met with Facebook, lays off 300

REUTERS/Mark Blinch

REUTERS/Mark Blinch

REUTERS

, Last Updated: 4:28 PM ET

BlackBerry Ltd executives flew to California to meet with Facebook Inc last week to gauge its interest in a potential bid for the struggling smartphone-maker, according to a Wall Street Journal report citing people familiar with the matter.

It remains unclear if Facebook is interested in placing a bid. Both companies declined to comment on the WSJ report.

Any deal would be an alternative to a tentative $9 US a share offer from a consortium led by its largest investor, Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd, which wants to buy BlackBerry for $4.7 billion and take it private.

Other companies are also taking a look at the company’s books to decide whether to make an offer, according to industry sources.

Meanwhile, the company announced 300 more layoffs this week in Waterloo, Ont., 570 News reports. These layoffs come as part of the 4,500 job cuts previously announced.

"(W)e are in a period of transition and we must focus on enhancing our financial results to be in a better position to compete in this current mobile environment," BlackBerry wrote in an e-mail to 570 News.

"We recognize our local employees’ hard work on behalf of our company and the difficulty of this news," it added, later in the e-mail. "And we will do everything in our power to treat our employees with compassion, while offering support during this time of transition."

But it's not all bad news for the smartphone company as its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) app hit 80 million active users, including 20 million new users from the newly released iOS and Android versions of the apps.

“It is great to see so many people downloading BBM, but the true measurement for us is engagement – the connections being made and the conversations in which our BBM community engages," executive vice president of BBM at BlackBerry Andrew Bocking said in a statement. "The power of BBM has always been the active, real conversations and interaction that our customers enjoy.”

“From here on out, we will focus on active users of BBM and will no longer focus on simple download numbers.”

- With files from QMI Agency


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