AOL Lays Off 20% Following Huffington Purchase
AOL said it would lay off 1,000 employees on Thursday in the wake of its acquisition of news and commentary site The Huffington Post. The cuts, which represent 20 percent of AOL’s work force, also include reductions in its operations in India.
“The changes we are making are not easy, but they are the right changes for the long-term health of the company, the brand and for our employees,” Tim Armstrong, AOL’s chief executive, said in a memo to employees. AOL will eliminate 200 jobs in its editorial and technology units, including journalists and support staff. The move was expected following The Huffington Post acquisition, which closed on Monday.
The addition of The Huffington Post increases AOL’s emphasis on editorial content, a key component of Mr. Armstrong’s revival strategy as the company’s original dial-up online access business declines. But the Huffington Post acquisition also created redundancies with other AOL properties that, when eliminated, could save $20 million.
Mr. Armstrong offered no specifics in his memo as to which editorial properties would be impacted by the cuts. An AOL spokeswoman declined to comment. As part of the restructuring, Mr. Armstrong said that AOL would rely less on freelance writers while increasing investment in its in-house editorial team. However, Seed, a service that solicits freelancers to write about a number of topics, will survive.
AOL said it would cut 400 jobs in India and shift another 300 jobs there to an outsourcing firm. It is not giving up on India, however. As part of the revamp, AOL said it would change the focus in India from back office support to creating new products for India and the rest of Asia. Following the cuts AOL’s work force will number around 4,000.