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AOL shuts down German operations
Photo: DPA

AOL shuts down German operations

Published on: 12 Jan 2010 11:26 CET

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The firm's operations in Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich will be shuttered, and some 140 employees will be out of work, the website reported. The measure is part of a companywide plan to cut costs that also includes the closure of their French office.

But AOL.de will remain online and email accounts through the company will remain accessible.

Meanwhile the company’s international branch for digital marketing AdTech will not be affected by the move, Meedia.de said.

AOL.de’s company spokesperson Thomas Knorpp said that negotiations for employee redundancy compensation are underway.

According to Meedia.de another 500 US employees are set to lose their jobs, in addition to some among their 11 international offices such as Spain and Sweden.

The Internet pioneer had announced on Monday that it would cut jobs after a voluntary departure programme failed to meet a target of trimming one-third of its global workforce.

AOL, which was spun off from media giant Time Warner last month after a troubled merger, had announced in November it would take a $200-million charge as part of a restructuring as it regained independence.

In December, AOL said the reduction in the workforce, representing about 2,500 jobs, was to be voluntary, with involuntary layoffs to be used only if the restructuring target were not met.

But only 1,100 employees took the voluntary departure programme, AOL spokeswoman Alysia Lew said on Monday.

AOL, which employed 19,000 people in 2006, will have 4,400 employees after the restructuring plan is completed.

The company is currently the number four gateway to the Web after Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, while its dial-up Internet access business has been gradually supplanted by high-speed broadband services.

Time Warner combined with America Online in 2001 at the height of the dotcom boom with AOL using its inflated stock as currency for the transaction.

Time Warner was forced in 2002 to massively write down the value of AOL and the AOL name was removed from the group's corporate title in 2003.

AOL, formerly known as America Online, became a separate traded company on December 10.

AFP/DDP/The Local(news@thelocal.de)

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