Spun-off AOL will axe a third of is workforce

AOL is preparing to cut around 2,500 staff, one third of its workforce, when it is spun off from media giant Time Warner next month.<br /><br />The struggling firm said in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday that the cuts are part of its plan to save $300m (&pound;180.5m).<br /><br />&ldquo;Today we have announced a voluntary lay-off programme, which will begin in the US on 4 December and run to 11 December, and are looking for up to 2,500 volunteers,&rdquo; an AOL spokesman said yesterday.<br /><br />The firm is considering offering a similar programme in other regions, but was unable to comment on locations that may be affected.<br /><br />&ldquo;We will need to implement involuntary lay-offs if we do not reach our target numbers with the involuntary option,&rdquo; he added. <br /><br />AOL will become a separately traded company on 10 December, ending a blighted tie-up with Time Warner. <br /><br />The two firms merged in 2001, at the height of the dot-com boom, with AOL using its inflated share price as currency in the deal.<br /><br />But the value of AOL deflated dramatically when the dot-com bubble burst, and Time Warner was forced to make huge writedowns on the firm. <br />