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Gateway to Relocate to O.C.

March 31, 2004|Terril Yue Jones | Times Staff Writer

After completing its acquisition of rival computer maker EMachines Inc., Gateway Inc. will move its headquarters from the San Diego suburb of Poway to Orange County, the company said Tuesday.

The relocation will add an hour or more to the commutes of hundreds of employees -- if they're able to keep their jobs.

Gateway is looking at several sites in Orange County, including some in EMachines' former headquarters city of Irvine, spokesman Bob Sherbin said. Incoming Chief Executive Wayne Inouye and six of Gateway's 13 senior vice presidents are from EMachines.

Other considerations for the move include lease and office configuration costs, ease of expansion and proximity to interstate freeways, Sherbin said.

Word of the relocation sapped the morale of workers who already feared job cuts in the wake of the merger, employees said. Company executives have said they expect to reduce Gateway's workforce to mid-5,000 from 7,400.

"This was not met with a wave of applause," said one of Gateway's 550 Poway-based employees. The worker, who asked not to be named, described the mood as "glum."

A decision on a new location is expected within two weeks, and a move will take place in July at the earliest, Sherbin said.

Gateway acquired EMachines for $290 million this month in a deal aimed at expanding its retail distribution.

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