Tags: aol | workers | employees | advertising

AOL Said to Fire 150 as It Automates Advertising Sales

Friday, 30 Jan 2015 04:57 PM


AOL Inc. is firing about 150 employees and folding two sites into the tech website Engadget as it simplifies its portfolio and automates digital advertising sales, according to a person familiar with the company’s plans.

Most of the job cuts this week come from AOL’s sales division, said the person, who asked not to be named because the information hasn’t been made public. The New York-based company has about 5,000 employees worldwide.

AOL has focused on becoming a leader in programmatic advertising, or using high-powered machines to buy and sell online ads. The technology makes digital advertising more efficient, reducing the need for sales staff. Some of the cuts come as AOL folds two properties — Joystiq, a gaming site, and TUAW, a blog that covers Apple Inc. news — into Engadget, the person said Friday.

Chief Executive Officer Tim Armstrong, in a memo to staff Friday obtained by Bloomberg News, said that jobs are being impacted by industry changes and AOL’s 2015 strategy.

“We have a globally talented team and it is the last place we want change and any actions are not taken lightly,” Armstrong said, without giving a specific number of cuts. “Our talent is our biggest asset and we are aligning AOL with the opportunities we see in our business and in the future of the industry.” 

Caroline Campbell, a spokeswoman for AOL, confirmed the memo’s authenticity.

Fastest-Growing

The company’s digital advertising business has been its fastest-growing. Almost half of online display ads on AOL websites are now sold through automation.

Armstrong has also talked about reducing the number of properties the company owns. During a November conference call to discuss earnings, he said part of his strategy this year will be “simplifying the portfolio of brands.”

Shares of AOL fell 1.8 percent to $43.25 at the close in New York. The stock has lost 6.5 percent in the past year.

Shifting resources could help make AOL a more enticing takeover target for companies that are interested in its prowess in advertising technology and online video. Verizon Communications Inc. has explored a potential acquisition or joint venture with AOL, Bloomberg reported this month.

In addition, activist investor Starboard Value LP increased pressure on Yahoo! Inc. this month to explore a combination with AOL. Shares of AOL slid 8.8 percent on Wednesday after Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer dismissed a potential AOL deal.

The job cuts were reported earlier by TechCrunch, which is owned by AOL.

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AOL Inc. is firing about 150 employees and folding two sites into the tech website Engadget as it simplifies its portfolio and automates digital advertising sales, according to a person familiar with the company's plans.
aol, workers, employees, advertising
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2015-57-30
Friday, 30 Jan 2015 04:57 PM
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