Industry Standard Europe magazine folds

US decides to pull the plug on its European operations after only six months

More than 60 employees face redundancy on Wednesday with the closure of The Industry Standard Europe, the weekly magazine covering the high-tech and dot-com industry.

Fewer than ten members of staff will be kept on, and they will be used to run the European bureau for the Industry Standard's US edition and its European Web site, www.thestandardeurope.com. The exact plans for the European site were unclear, but it is likely to continue operating for the near future, according to sources.

The decision to shut down followed unsuccessful attempts to find a buyer for The Industry Standard Europe. Its parent company, Standard Media International, announced last week that its European operations -- which only launched six months ago -- were up for sale.

According to sources, the US parent company ditched its European arm rather than addressing problems closer to home. "The US office is overstaffed, and is looking to cut costs. The most obvious thing to do is to close your overseas operations. The magazine has been selling well, and doing fine for adverts," a source close to the company added.

It is a story that has grown familiar for UK outposts of US-based high-tech startups. Web sites TheStreet.co.uk and eToys.co.uk both said they were meeting targets, but presented their troubled parent companies with an unwelcome drain on scarce funds.

Reports have suggested that staff were surprised by the speed of the decision, which was apparently taken after talks which "went on until the 11th hour".

Company sources also claimed that The Industry Standard Europe had been outselling its new media print rivals.

In a statement, editor-in-chief James Ledbetter blamed the closure on the current difficult economic conditions. "Some of our most likely advertisers have gone out of business; others have cut back dramatically on advertising and marketing spend in anticipation of an international economic downturn. These cutbacks have forced a series of painful layoffs throughout the business media sector," said Ledbetter.

Back in January, Standard Media International announced that 36 jobs would be lost from the US edition of The Industry Standard Europe, in response to gloomier prospects for 2001. The European operations were unaffected by those losses, although the company was said to have scrapped plans for a German edition.

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