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article imageNews startup Patch announces big layoffs as company restructures

By Michael Thomas     Jan 29, 2014 in Business
Patch owner Hale Global announced sweeping layoffs today as it restructures the news startup. This is the second massive round of job cuts in under a year.
TechCrunch has confirmed the layoffs, initially reported by Jim Romenesko. Though neither source has concrete numbers, they have both heard that "hundreds" of employees have lost their jobs. AOL has a minor stake in the company after selling the majority stack to Hale Global on Jan. 15.
In August of 2013, 400 Patch staff members lost their jobs.
“This is sad but didn’t really come as a surprise to many if not all of us. Everyone gave it their best shot, but in the end no one could make the numbers add up. They treated us well, even as we headed out the door, so personally I have no complaints,” one fired Patch employee told TechCrunch.
Employees will be given two months' severance pay, their yearly Aol bonus and pay for accrued vacation time.
On his blog, Romenesko quotes one employee as saying "I was a local editor for Patch for 3.5 years, up until about an hour ago. ..We knew it was coming. but the silence from New York over the few months was deafening. They left us in a state of suspended animation. For those of us who killed ourselves working for this company, it was a real slap in the face.”
Hear the "you're fired" message from COO Leigh Zarelli Lewis, courtesy of Jim Romenesko:
Business Insider reports that the company was cofounded by Aol's Tim Armstrong, He invested hundreds of millions of dollars into Patch over the years, and reportedly almost lost his job when the start-up didn't become financially viable.
Reportedly Patch will shrink to 250 sites from nearly 1,000, with the 750 discarded ones becoming "zombie sites" which will gather regional news and look to partnerships with bloggers.
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