Laid Off by BlackBerry, Welcomed by Apple

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BlackBerry Ltd Smartphones And U.K. Headquarters As $4.7 Billion Dollar Buyout Deal Agreed With Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd
Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Kukil Bora

After BlackBerry announced last month that it would slash 40 percent of its workforce, Apple reportedly has begun snapping up the struggling smartphone maker's employees near the company's corporate headquarters in Canada.

According to a report from the Financial Post, Apple hosted a recruitment drive on Sept. 26 at the Cambridge Hotel and Conference Centre in Waterloo, Ontario, a place that is roughly 12 miles away from BlackBerry's home base. The report said that Apple (AAPL) sent the event's invitations to BlackBerry employees via LinkedIn.

"Most positions will be based in Cupertino, [Calif.]," the LinkedIn invite, obtained by Financial Post, said, adding that Apple would also provide immigration assistance and relocation compensation for successful candidates. However, exactly what positions Apple is looking to fill remains unknown.

On Sept. 20, the same day Apple released the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, BlackBerry said it expected to post almost a $1 billion loss in the second quarter and would cut approximately 4,500 jobs, or about 40 percent of its global workforce.

On Monday, BlackBerry (BBRY) handed out layoff notices, confirming 300 employees would be laid off from its Waterloo headquarters this week as part of the first round of job cuts.

BlackBerry's talent base is also being eyed by other players such as Intel (INTC), which held an "information session" at the Holiday Inn Kitchener-Waterloo Hotel & Conference Centre in Kitchener, Ontario, on Sept. 28 and Sept. 29 to look for engineers to join the company's Mobile and Communications Group.

While Apple didn't comment on the recruitment drive, an Intel spokesperson said its session "was designed to engage with engineers."

BlackBerry, which is now contemplating a $4.7 billion takeover bid from a consortium led by Fairfax Financial Holdings, the company's biggest shareholder, is also reportedly considering a break-up of the company. The phonemaker's advisers reportedly approached companies such as SAP (SAP), Cisco Systems (CSCO) and Samsung Electronics last week, all of which have expressed interest in only buying only parts of the once-iconic company.

"If you break up the company, you're going to get more than the company is worth right now," Bloomberg quoted Sachin Shah, a strategist at New York-based Albert Fried & Co., as saying. According to Shah, whether Fairfax's bid turns out to be successful or not, "breaking it up sounds more appetizing for all involved."


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