Excite@Home to pack up in Germany, France and Spain

Excite@Home will close its offices in Germany, France and Spain this July, resulting in the loss of 85 jobs across Europe, the company announced Wednesday.

"We announced (the office closures) to staff this morning; we're still working out the final (redundancy) packages," an Excite@Home spokeswoman in the U.K. said.

Offices in the U.K. and Italy will remain open, the spokeswoman added. The company owns 58 percent of Excite UK Ltd. in a joint venture with British Telecommunications PLC, and holds 30 percent of Excite Italia BV in a separate joint venture with Tiscali SpA.

Also unaffected will be @Home Benelux, Excite@Home's broadband Internet access joint venture with Essent Kabelcom BV, she said.

The move comes one month after the high-speed Internet access and Web site portal company unveiled plans to cut 380 jobs in an effort to reduce costs. The company had said that while the lay-offs would come in all divisions, its media operations in particular would shrink. In addition to providing high-speed Internet access in the U.S., Excite@Home's media operations include Internet portal Excite.com and Blue Mountain Arts, a provider of online greeting cards.

Excite@Home had also announced in January that 250 employees would be let go. Most of those layoffs also came from the Excite@Home's media operations. The company blamed a weakened Internet advertising environment for the closure of its European offices, a claim Excite@Home also made in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on April 19. In that filing, Excite@Home said its aim is to reduce costs and to raise at least US$75 million to $80 million by June 30, 2001.

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