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AOL to cut up to 500 jobs at local news service

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NEW YORK — AOL on Friday moved to cut losses at Patch, its struggling local news service, eliminating up to 500 positions and closing or consolidating many of its sites.

The cuts were an effort to reach profitability in a division that has failed to gain traction with consumers and has suffered huge losses financially. Patch’s troubles have been a source of frustration for AOL’s chief executive, Tim Armstrong, who helped found the service in 2007 when he was an executive at Google. Shortly after arriving at AOL in 2009, Armstrong had the company acquire Patch.

The company said it had analyzed the performance of the approximately 900 Patch sites and identified about 60 percent as high-performing ones that should remain intact. AOL said it would look for partners to operate another 20 percent of the sites that are considered viable, and it would close or consolidate the rest.

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