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Lops off 15% of heads

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CNET Networks is to reduce its headcount by a further 15 per cent, on the back of a deteriorating sales outlook for the rest of the year.The layoffs will take place by mid-September.

The layoffs are CNET's second round of job cuts this year. In February it chopped 190 staff. But as the world's biggest tech portal, CNET has rather more staff to cut than most. Last year it bought rival ZDNET, emerging with 2000 employees.

CNET's cost-cutting drive includes the integration of "duplicative" businesses and shutting down certain non-profit or non-growth parts of the outfit.

The company also reduced sales expectations for the year to between $290 million and $300 million, down from the previous estimate of $310 million to $328 million.

The announcements came from the San Francisco-based company as it recorded its Q2 results. Excluding expenses, it posted a loss of $23.4 million for the three months ended June 30, compared to $5 million for the same period the previous year.

This was on sales of $71.1 million (excluding expenses) - down 32 per cent on Q2 2000.

Daily page views during the quarter grew 26 per cent to an average of 38.4 million.

CNET CEO Shelby Bonnie said Q2 results were in line with expectations despite "a deep and prolonged slowdown in the economy, especially in the technology sector."

He said the company could not predict when things would start to look up. ®

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