GoPro quits the drone business, slashes jobs

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CARLSBAD, Calif. — GoPro is killing its drone business and slashing 20% of its staff after reporting weak demand for its products.

The company, which had 1,254 employees as of September 30, is reducing that number to fewer than 1,000. Founder and CEO Nicholas Woodman is also cutting his annual pay to $1. The company had previously announced a layoff of about 200 employees in November of 2016.

The company said its Karma drone, which cost about $800 without a camera or about $1,100 with a camera, was the second largest seller in its price range. But it said a hostile regulatory environment in Europe and the United States, and extremely competitive market makes staying in the business untenable. GoPro said it will exit the business once it sells off its remaining Karma inventory.

The company was already forced to announce a price cut on Dec. 10 for its core camera product, the HERO5, due to weak pre-holiday sales. GoPro said that helped boost sales. Then on Sunday it also cut the price of its premium HERO6 camera.

Preliminary results show the company had fourth-quarter revenue of $340 million, down $200 million, or 37% from what it reported in the fourth quarter a year earlier.

Shares of GoPro plunged 20% to $5.98 in midday trading Monday on the news. Earlier, shares had hit an all-time low of $5.04, down 33%. These declines follow a loss of 13% in 2017.

Then, the shares made a bit of a rebound after Woodman told CNBC earlier Monday the company would consider a sale or partnership with another company, though it plans to remain independent.

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