Excite@Home lays off 8 percent of workforce

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Broadband Internet provider Excite@Home is laying off 250 employees, or about 8 percent of its workforce. Hardest hit were Excite@Home's corporate office and Excite Studios, which produces content for Excite and its properties. Excite properties include electronic greeting card site Bluemountainarts.com and photo site Webshots. Other areas hit included advertising, sales and marketing positions. Excite's broadband access service and @Work business team were untouched by the cutbacks, a spokeswoman said. The cutbacks had been rumored for the last few months.

"We're streamlining our business to focus on broadband," said a spokeswoman, noting that growth in consumer and commercial broadband sector remains strong.

Excite recently reoganized and announced that CEO George Bell would step down to become chairman. Mr. Bell's last day as CEO is Jan. 26, and the search for a successor is still in the works.

Several Excite deals have fallen through recently. Last month Excite@Home Dec. 4 announced it had formally killed plans for Excite Chello, a joint company with European broadband company UPC and UnitedGlobalCom ("United Group"). The proposed merger would have merged Excite@Home's Asia-Pacific and European media and broadband subscriber businesses with assets and distribution commitments from United Group. United Group recently told Excite@Home that it wasn't willing to close the deal because of market conditions. In January, Excite scrapped its plan to buy gaming site Pogo because certain conditions of the deal were not met.

-Patricia Riedman

Copyright January 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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