EUROPATWEB TO CLOSE 5 OFFICES
PARIS — Europatweb, luxury titan Bernard Arnault’s Internet development vehicle, will shutter its five satellite offices in Europe.
After Europatweb closes its offices in London, Munich, Barcelona, Madrid and Milan, most of its operations will be centralized in Paris, according to a company spokesman, who declined to offer a timetable for the action. Roughly 25 people will be laid off, he added. Europatweb will continue to operate its offices in New York and San Francisco. Meanwhile, the spokesman said Europatweb plans to unveil more of its new strategy by Feb. 28. French utilities giant Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux purchased a 30 percent stake in Europatweb in November, with Arnault taking a 10 percent piece of the Suez-led consortium that was vying for a license to operate UTMS telecommunications technology, or third-generation mobile technology that would link mobile phones to the Internet in France. Last week, however, Suez dropped out of the UTMS race. Europatweb and Suez have said their partnership would remain intact, but the nature of the alliance going forward remains unclear.