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iVillage to trim some Women.com staff

More than a third of Women.com staffers have received notice that their jobs will disappear should the company's acquisition by iVillage go through later this month.

More than a third of Women.com staffers received notice that their jobs will disappear should the company's acquisition by iVillage go through later this month, CNET News.com has learned.

Women's-interest portal iVillage, headquartered in New York, in February announced its intention to buy San Mateo, Calif.-based Women.com. iVillage expects to complete that acquisition June 18, at which time 70 of Women.com's 207 employees would lose their jobs.

An iVillage representative said the layoffs were planned to eliminate expected duplication of efforts between the two companies.

iVillage sent the notices May 30, warning staffers that their jobs would end June 30 if the acquisition closed but that they would collect salaries for an additional 30 days. According to the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), companies of a certain size that lay off more than 50 employees in one location must give affected employees 60 days' notice.

Some workers will receive added severance pay, depending on their seniority.

An undisclosed number of additional staffers might be cut after a transition period, according to iVillage.

The layoffs come as iVillage, current and former executives and directors, and underwriters face a class-action securities lawsuit related to the company's March 1999 initial public offering. The portal said in a statement Friday that it has not yet seen the complaint but that it believes the claims are "without merit" and that the company "intends to vigorously defend" itself.

Trading on thin ice iVillage previously cut jobs April 30, eliminating 30 positions, or more than 9 percent of its staff. The number of employees at the company now stands at 303.

Ten days earlier, the Nasdaq warned iVillage that its stock faced delisting. That warning was rescinded May 31 after the price of the issue stayed above the $1 minimum for 10 consecutive trading days.

Shareholders from both companies will meet separately June 15 to vote on the acquisition.