BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) is closing its design operations in Sweden in a downsizing which will affect about 150 employees.
The news comes to us by way of TechCrunch from three other publications in the country. As noted by TechCrunch, news site Rapidus and financial paper Svenska Dagbladet say the move by the struggling Canadian firm will affect about 153 employees: 93 of them are in the city of Malmo and 60 of them are in the city of Gothenburg. 8till5 reports a different figure, however, with 100 layoffs in Malmo.
BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)’s operation in Malmo stems from its acquisition of The Astonishing Tribe in 2010. Rapidus notes that the Malmo-based company has become a development arm for the company’s design and user interface group.
Rapidus reports that the closing down of the operations of the firm in Sweden has been confirmed by Unionen trade union Regional Manager Hans Björkqvist who has told the news organization that BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) has requested for negotiations as part of the closing of the offices.
According to the union official, his organization is ready to scrutinize the Canadian firm’s “motivations for closing these facilities” including the economic reasons the company is giving.
The news was only received by the BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) in the country on Wednesday, Rapidus notes, which reportedly surprised the employees.
Svenska Dagbladet also quotes Björkqvist confirming the news.
The Astonishing Tribe was bought by BlackBerry in 2010 for over $90 million. The firm was supposed to spearhead design of the user interface of the firm’s devices on its tablet timeline. However, the BlackBerry PlayBook was a market flop.
Nonetheless, The Astonishing Tribe employees were realigned to working on the user interface of other devices up until now, it appears, when the company has decided to close their offices in Sweden.
Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Financial Holdings remained the largest institutional investor in BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) after the end of last year. By the end of the year’s December quarter, the firm owned about 46.65 million shares of BlackBerry.
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