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Agence France-Presse
New York City, September 22, 2013
One of BlackBerry's co-founders has held talks with private equity firms about making a joint bid for the struggling Canadian smartphone maker, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday. Former Blackberry co-CEO Mike Lazaridis has talked to firms including Blackstone Group LP and Carlyle Group LP, the paper said. It quoted people familiar with the matter.

The report came just a day after Blackberry said it would cut 4,500 jobs, or 40% of its workforce, in the face of hefty losses and weak sales of its new handsets.

Lazaridis and co-founder Jim Balsillie handed over the reins of the company in January 2012 under pressure from shareholders unhappy with the company's performance.

News of the layoffs show BlackBerry's efforts at reviving its fortunes are a stunning failure and push the once high-flying firm one step closer to extinction, analysts said.

BlackBerry said it expects a loss of $950 to $995 million (700 million to 735 million euros) in the second quarter mostly due to writedowns linked to poor sales of its Z10 smartphone, the device aimed at competing against Apple and Android devices.

The company's highly-publicised launch of the BlackBerry 10 platform earlier this year failed to ignite sales. The company has said it is examining "strategic alternatives," including a possible sale of the company.