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AOL plans to cut a third of workforce through buyouts

The Internet firm, which is being spun off by Time Warner, hopes 2,500 workers sign up for a 'voluntary layoff' program in early December. That would leave a staff of 4,400.

November 20, 2009|By Mike Musgrove

AOL said Thursday that it planned to reduce its workforce by a third over the next several months.

The New York company, which employs about 6,900 people, is hoping to get as many as 2,500 workers to participate in a "voluntary layoff" program in early December.

For the time being, AOL is part of Time Warner, though the media giant is scheduled to spin off the former dial-up Internet powerhouse into a separate company Dec. 9.

Chief Executive Tim Armstrong announced the latest round of restructuring Thursday morning. Armstrong, a former Google executive, took the reins at AOL this year. From nearly the beginning of his time at the company, Time Warner made it clear that a spinoff was in the works.

Last year's decline in Web advertising hit AOL hard and was severe enough to bring down the profits of its parent. Last year, AOL's revenue fell 20%, to $4.2 billion.

Under Armstrong, who led Google's advertising business, AOL has sought to reinvent itself as a Web content and advertising company. It owns the celebrity news site TMZ, tech blog Engadget and map service Mapquest.

In an e-mail, Armstrong told employees that he would not take a bonus this year because he is "the person who takes accountability for the results of the company."

Musgrove writes for the Washington Post.

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