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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Port.ru Slashes Staff After netBridge Tie

Following the path of Internet companies worldwide, Port.ru has laid off about half of its 170-strong workforce since last week, including several of its top managers.

"Even I never imagined the cutbacks of personnel would be on such a large scale and take place so quickly. … But we had to do this for the sake of creating an optimal structure," Yulia Sigunova, marketing director for Port.ru, said Monday.

One month ago, Port.ru merged with another large Internet company, netBridge. In the process, netBridge lost its brand name, but gained a very strong position in the management of the new company.

Those dismissed included some 75 employees from the pre-merger Port.ru, while the rest were from netBridge. Of the management of Port.ru, only its head, Yevgeny Goland, and technical director, Viktor Lavrenko, remain. Managers from netBridge will assume responsibility for operations, marketing and development of Internet resources.

Port.ru is undergoing a process typical of all the world's large Internet companies.

On account of the falling Nasdaq index, they can no longer rely on incoming foreign investment. As a result, major Internet companies have been forced to reduce costs and resort to recouping their losses much earlier than had been anticipated in their business plans.

Former vice president of Port.ru Yury Ammosov, who was dismissed Friday, said he was hired by the company to launch it on Western stock markets or find a strategic investor. He had already prepared documents for a share emission on the Frankfurt Neuer Markt. "I cannot do either of those things for them in the course of the next six months," he said.

"The old Port.ru we knew no longer exists."

However, users of the company's Internet resources will not notice any significant changes in the near future. "The profile of Port.ru is unlikely to change in the near future. The same portal system will remain in place," said Anton Nikitin, general director of the Rezultat Internet consulting agency.

The new Port.ru is set to choose a new brand name. The company owns the brands Mail.ru, Port and List. Most likely, the name will be List, said Goland, Port.ru's chairman

And rumors continue to circulate that the company is seeking a merger partner.

Yury Milner, the former general director of netBridge, does not deny that. "We are conducting negotiations with everyone. There is a strategic benefit in doing this:

"The fewer big players there are, the better."

"In principle, this is possible. Six months ago, everyone was saying 'what will happen if,'" said Arkady Volozh, general director of the Yandex Internet company.

"For me, the merger of Port.ru and netBridge suggests Milner will 'pack up' the company in order to sell it in the future."