AOL confirms layoffs, changes in editorial focus

After closing its deal with the Huffington Post, AOL has confirmed that the company will lay off 200 people in the U.S. Another 700 people have been laid off in India.

The new Huffington Post Media Group at AOL.
The new Huffington Post Media Group at AOL. Huffington Post

Just days after closing its deal with the Huffington Post, AOL has confirmed that it will lay off hundreds of staffers.

A company spokesperson told CNET in a phone interview today that 200 people will be laid off in the U.S. The majority of those employees will come from the editorial side of AOL's operation, while the remaining employees are in other divisions. In addition, AOL will layoff 700 people in India. Approximately 300 of those people, however, will move to other companies and continue working on AOL support functions, like finance and operations.

The layoffs at AOL were prompted by the company's recent acquisition of the Huffington Post for $315 million . Earlier this week, AOL closed the deal and officially integrated the publication with AOL Media and AOL Local to create the Huffington Post Media Group. Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington heads up that division as president and editor in chief.

In the acquisition, AOL took on the publication's staffers, leading AOL to make room by laying off some of its employees. Even so, the company's editorial department will grow by a net of 17 people, thanks to the influx of Huffington Post employees, according to the spokesperson.

Looking ahead, AOL plans on expanding its editorial staff, the spokesperson said. However, in doing so, it will start moving away from a reliance on freelance journalists and hire more in-house editorial employees.

AOL's latest layoffs are another in a string of cutbacks in recent years. In 2007, the company laid off 2,000 staffers from its then 10,000-person-strong workforce. AOL started off 2009 by laying off 700 employees and then asked 2,500 "volunteers" to be laid off later in the year. Out of that group, approximately 1,100 people chose to leave, prompting the company to lay off another 1,200 people last year.

AOL shares are down 5 cents to $19.29 following news of today's layoffs.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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