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Bang&Olufsen slices 300 jobs

Exits mp3 player, phone biz

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Following another quarterly loss, Danish luxury digi-goods maker Bang & Olufsen will cut 300 jobs and remove itself from both the mobile phone and mp3 player markets.

"We will focus on further developing the core audio and video product portfolio which has made the company what it is today. We will, however, also focus on the development of bespoke audio systems for performance cars, which in recent years have contributed to strengthening the global competitiveness of the Bang & Olufsen brand," reads a statement from CEO Karl Kristian Hvidt Nielsen, who took the reins in August.

Cutting an estimated 165 million kroner ($28.4 million) in costs, Bang will lay off 165 employees and the additional 135 jobs will disappear as people flee on their own. A press release says the company will "streamline its global sales organization to ensure that a visit to a Bang & Olufsen store is never less than a highly professional and exceptional listening and viewing experience."

But Kristian doesn't enjoy the layoffs. "No one enjoys laying people off. On the other hand, I have to do what is necessary and best for Bang & Olufsen. It is with deep regret that we have to let so many employees go, but there is no alternative."

Bang's stock has plummeted 75 per cent over the past year, as the company recorded in two consecutive quarters. But with today's announcement, shares rose 4.64 per cent to 146.50 kroner in Copenhagen trading.

The company still plans to double its stores in "growth markets" such as Russia and China and expand in other markets as well. So, despite The Meltdown, Bang believes there are still people who need $15,000 televisions. ®

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