Report: Big Netscape layoffs

An online financial site says AOL will cut 30 percent of Netscape's work force.

Four months after offering Netscape employees an extra month's salary to stay with the company, America Online Inc. may be firing some of them.

AOL could cut as much as 30 percent of Netscape's 2,500-person work force, according to a report on the financial Web site The Street.com. The site said the layoffs could come as early as next week.

AOL unveiled plans to buy Netscape last November in a stock deal worth $4.2bn (£2.5bn) at the time. AOL's stock has soared since then. The report said some of the people cut could be hired back as the company expands into new areas.

AOL spokesman Jim Whitney would not confirm the report, saying only that details on the merged company will come out soon. "We'll have more information next week," he said.

Netscape officials were not immediately available for comment.

Shortly after the companies unveiled their merger plans, AOL CEO Steve Case promised Netscape employees an extra month's salary if they stayed until the deal closed. Netscape shareholders approved the deal Wednesday.

Some of the 5-year-old company's original employees have fled the company already, and several are starting new firms. But co-founder Marc Andreessen agreed to stay put as AOL's chief technical officer.