AOL says to close German, French offices

US Internet company AOL announced on Tuesday that it intends to close its French and German offices as part of a worldwide round of job cuts. AOL began meetings at its European offices on Monday, when it announced plans to shut down installations starting in Spain and Sweden. 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-dollar 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 lay-offs 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. In the United States, the New York-based company said it began notifying “a limited number of individuals” affected by the lay-offs on Monday, with the majority of the pink slips being delivered on Wednesday. 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.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100112/tc_afp/useuropeitinternetcompanycutsstructureaol

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