Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

AOL Layoffs Coming Soon, Followed by Champagne and Cookies for Advertisers When HuffPo Deal Closes

[UPDATED: Corrections below and in headline that layoffs coming soon after close, but not today.]

There’s no question it’s a jarring contrast–layoffs versus champagne and cookies.

But that’s the reality at AOL as its acquisition of the Huffington Post closes this week, even as it sheds employees as part of its ongoing turnaround effort.

Sources said the New York-based Internet portal could announce layoffs as early as today.

[UPDATE: Layoffs will not come until after the Huffington Post deal is closed said other sources, although they are coming.]

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong indicated job cuts were definitely coming at a paidContent conference in New York yesterday.

“There will be job changes,” he said, when asked about layoffs.

Perhaps sooner than later.

BoomTown received several emails from worried AOL employees, noting that human resources staffers were taking steps to initiate the layoffs at 10 am ET/7 am PT this morning and that there would also be employee meetings then too.

I followed up with several sources close to the situation, who confirmed that the layoffs are imminent. Nonetheless, they could not specify the timing, size and scope of them.

[UPDATE: There will be an all-hands meeting for AOL staff with Armstrong, as well as new content head Arianna Huffington.]

The last time AOL laid off employees a year ago, it was a large action with job cuts of 2,300.

The latest slashing comes just as AOL management will try to aggressively tout the closing of its $315 million purchase of the Huffington Post.

The integration of the well-known news and opinion site will mean a significant change for AOL’s editorial efforts, as well as an opportunity to impress advertisers.

Thus, AOL is prepping boxes with Greek cookies and pricey champagne to send out to key advertising clients, to celebrate the deal’s close.

Why Greek cookies? Because it’s the original country of Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post.

I have emails into AOL for a comment.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus