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AltaVista cuts 25 percent of work force

The troubled Web portal says it has laid off 200 employees, or about 25 percent of its staff, in its latest attempt to cut costs and reach profitability.

    Troubled Web portal AltaVista said Thursday it laid off 200 employees, or about 25 percent of its staff, in its latest attempt to cut costs and reach profitability.

    Company spokesman David Emanuel said most laid-off employees are in the company's Palo Alto, Calif., headquarters, but cuts did not hit any particular segment of the business.

    The layoffs are the third round initiated by AltaVista in recent months. Employees were also laid off in September and May of last year.

    Last week, the company pulled plans for an initial public offering, citing market conditions.

    The IPO plans, pulled in conjunction with Thursday's layoffs, suggest AltaVista is far from a financial state that would be appealing to investors. Analysts say they are not surprised given the state of the online advertising industry.

    "That's the exact market that investors have been shying away from," Paul Bard, an analyst with Renaissance Capital, said when the company pulled its IPO.

    Investors have turned from companies that depend on online advertising revenue as news surfaces that the market is not regaining steam. Earlier this month, AltaVista rival Yahoo sharply reduced its projections for 2001, suggesting continued depression in the online advertising sector.