eBay to Restructure Worldwide, Cut Jobs

eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) is restructuring its operations worldwide, which will lead to a small cut in global staffing levels but with some countries hit harder than others, a company representative said on Thursday.

“It’s less than 1 percent globally,” company spokeswoman Sravanthi Agrawal told Reuters, adding the main regions and countries affected by the online auctioneer’s job cuts were in North America, Belgium, Spain and Austria.

“We shared the news with the employees internally,” she said, adding the company had not yet made an announcement to the media. “It’s a globalization and centralization effort.”

eBay’s restructuring was aimed at refocusing on its core business, Agrawal said.

eBay, which has a total staff of more than 15,000 in 39 countries, warned in January that 2008 results would fall below Wall Street expectations, sending its stock down and confirmed long-serving CEO Meg Whitman would step aside.

The forecast accompanied solid fourth-quarter results, and analysts said at the time it was unclear if the company feared an economic slowdown or whether management was giving itself room to make changes to revitalize the business.

eBay said 2008 net earnings, excluding one-time items and option expenses, would be $1.63 to $1.67 per diluted share — at or below the $1.67 average analyst forecast.

A spokeswoman for eBay Germany said the company would not cut jobs in the country as part of the restructuring. The company has 1,100 employees near Berlin.

eBay shares in New York were up 2.2 percent at $28.07 at 1505 GMT while the NASDAQ IXIC index of technology stocks was up 0.9 percent.

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