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BlackBerry shares down after layoffs, reports that pension plans not interested

TORONTO - Shares of BlackBerry slipped nearly six per cent on Tuesday amid continuing layoffs and reports that a takeover involving Canada's major pension plans is unlikely.

BlackBerry (TSX:BB) shares were trading around $11.30 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday afternoon, down 66 cents or 5.52 per cent.

That's after a nearly six per cent surge on Monday amid unconfirmed reports that Fairfax Financial Holdings (TSX:FFH) chairman Prem Watsa was closing in on a rescue deal for the troubled smartphone maker.

The Sunday Times newspaper reported that Watsa has assembled billions of dollars in backing from the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and other Canadian pension funds to buy the Waterloo, Ont.,-based company.

But the Globe and Mail reported Tuesday that big pension funds have been reluctant to join Fairfax in a buyout consortium.

Meanwhile, BlackBerry has confirmed reports that it has laid off about 60 employees, mostly in sales.

"We are moving a small number of US-focused sales roles that were based in Canada to the U.S. to be more closely aligned with our customers," Lisette Kwong, senior manager of corporate communications, said in a statement.

"We are in the second phase of our transformation plan. As part of this transformation, BlackBerry will continually evaluate its organization — from top to bottom — to ensure we have the right people, with the right skills in the right locations to drive new opportunities in mobile computing."

The Canadian Press

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