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Google to lay off 300 at DoubleClick

Search giant also plans to sell search-marketing part of newly-acquired DoubleClick's Performics business.

Google is laying off about 300 employees in its newly acquired DoubleClick ad business, according to a source familiar with the matter.

A Google spokesman said the company could not confirm the number of workers laid off.

"Since our acquisition of DoubleClick closed on March 11, we have been working to match and align DoubleClick employees in the U.S. with our organizational plan for the business," the company said in a statement.

"As with many mergers, this review has resulted in a reduction in headcount at the acquired company," the statement said. "Today, we are laying off some DoubleClick employees in the U.S. and placing others in transitional roles. We are confident that our combined organizational structure, along with the skills and experience of our new colleagues, will allow us to continue to offer great products and services to our customers."

The layoffs were expected, with Chief Executive Eric Schmidt giving a warning in a blog posting last month.

The 300 layoffs represent about one-fourth of DoubleClick's workforce and it's likely that additional workers outside the U.S. will also be let go.

Meanwhile, Google says it is splitting up Doubleclick's Performics business unit into two--search marketing and affiliate marketing--and will sell off the search marketing part.

That move, too, is not unexpected. Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land had called on Google to divest itself of the search engine marketing arm, saying that even if Google keeps its search engine operations completely separate from the search optimization arm, there could be the appearance of impropriety and bias.

Apparently Google agreed.

"It's clear to us that we do not want to be in the search engine marketing business," the company wrote in a blog posting. "Maintaining objectivity in both search and advertising is paramount to Google's mission and core to the trust we ask from our users. For this reason, we plan to sell the Performics search marketing business to a third party. We believe this will allow us to maintain objectivity and the search marketing business to continue to grow and innovate and serve its customers."

The layoff news was first reported by The New York Times.