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Yahoo lays off 1,500

An undisclosed amount of Burbank workers also receive pink slips

December 11, 2008|By Jeremy Oberstein

“They may have offered severance packages that people voluntarily took, which is not considered laid off,” said Patti Roberts, a spokesperson with the Employment Development Department.

Other California offices affected by the action include campuses in Santa Monica, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara.

Yahoo has had a troubling year as it seeks to carve out a niche for itself among other Internet companies, namely Google and Microsoft, the latter of which offered to buy Yahoo in April for $44.6 billion, or $31 per share.

On April 12, Yahoo laid off 111 workers from its Burbank site and 333 others at its California offices.

Since then, Yahoo’s stock value has lost more than half its value.

But news of Wednesday’s layoffs sent stock prices soaring nearly 10% to finish at $13.40 per share, their highest point since Oct. 9.

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Former Yahoo workers outside the Burbank campus Wednesday, hours after they were handed pink slips, said the mood inside the Empire Avenue site was gloomy.

None wanted to be identified, citing concerns about future employment prospects, but said many of the workers were notified individually early Wednesday morning by superiors.

Some workers were offered severance packages, and most received case management help from a transition team Yahoo established to help workers move on from the Internet company, employees said.

Still, morale was very low inside the search engine’s Burbank hub, which was established in 2006 to provide search products and services to advertisers, one worker said.

“Everybody’s built a wall. Nobody’s talking to anyone else,” she said. “It wasn’t pleasant.”

In preparation for a potential glut of new unemployed workers, the Burbank WorkForce Connection job resource center has started ramping up its efforts to respond to the needs of high-tech job seekers.

“We are ready to have more people coming in,” said Rene Sanchez, a human resources technician with the job center. “A lot of companies are going out of business, and we’ve had some rapid response meetings.”

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