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OpenTV to lay off nearly half of staff

The maker of software for interactive television is cutting 47 percent of its work force as it deals with a tough economic climate and tries to streamline operations after recent acquisitions.

OpenTV is cutting nearly half its work force as it deals with a tough economic climate and tries to streamline operations after two recent acquisitions.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company announced on Monday that it is restructuring its business operations, which will result in the loss of 315 jobs, or about 47 percent of the company's work force, by the end of the first quarter of next year. The maker of software for interactive TV will also close eight regional offices.

"Given the challenging economic environment, and also as a result of some significant changes in the business strategies of the company, OpenTV is taking the necessary actions to streamline and right-size the company's operations," OpenTV Chief Executive Officer James Ackerman said in a statement.

The company said the cuts will allow it to save $60 million a year in costs beginning in the second quarter of the next fiscal year. OpenTV also expects the changes to reduce the rate at which its losses are depleting its cash reserves. The company estimated the moves will decrease by $48 million a year the amount of cash being used by its operations.

OpenTV cited tough economic conditions as the reason for the cuts. Cable and satellite networks have been dialing back once-aggressive plans to promote and sell interactive services, such as shopping or e-mail capabilities, because of limited subscriber interest and delays in launching software.

Late last month, OpenTV bought rivals ACTV and Wink Communications, paying $92.3 million in stock for ACTV and $101 million in cash for Wink. Last Monday, OpenTV completed its acquisition of Wink from Liberty Media's interactive division, which had recently acquired Wink for $102 million.

Wink will continue to operate as a separate subsidiary, according to OpenTV.

OpenTV said more than 35 million households have television set-top boxes that use its software, most of them in Europe.