GoPro exits drone market, hints at search for a buyer, partner

1/125 sec | f/3.5 | 31.0 mm | ISO 200

The comments followed reports by several media outlets, including Reuters, that GoPro had hired JP Morgan to help it with a sale process, as the one-time Wall Street favourite battles falling demand for its sports cameras and drones.

In a statement today, GoPro announced that it's killing off its drone division and laying off 20 percent of its workforce.

The drone remained the second most popular of its price class after the recall, GoPro said, but an "extremely competitive aerial market", as well as a "hostile regulatory environment" in Europe and the United States made the product's future "untenable".

Woodman will reduce his 2018 cash compensation to US$1, the company said. The company has 1,254 employees as of September 30, 2017, which will be reduced to "fewer than 1,000".

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The Karma drone was meant to be GoPro's next big product when it launched amid much fanfare in 2016.

GoPro's shares recovered somewhat after the news of the possible sale, down 11.30% to $6.67 in mid-day trading on Monday. Unfortunately, the drone was eventually recalled in November of the same year, as some of the units lost power, during operations and fell from the sky.

GoPro said it will sell through its remaining Karma inventory and will continue to provide service and support to Karma customers.

Michael Pachter, of Wedbush Securities, said GoPro became a victim of both hubris and desperation as it tried to make a go of it in the drone sector.

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The company cut the price of its latest HERO6 cameras to US$399 from US$499 this week, a decision that it said would hurt revenue by around US$80 million in the fourth quarter.

Along with the job cuts and plans to get out of the drone business, GoPro released preliminary fourth-quarter results, which didn't do anything to inspire investors' confidence.

GoPro is exploring a sale after a tumultuous couple of years that included multiple rounds of layoffs, shrinking sales, and a plummeting stock price.

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