Patch Bloodbath: AOL Unit Lays Off Hundreds by Phone (Audio)

Layoffs come less than two weeks after AOL sold majority of its struggling news operation to Hale Global

Hyperlocal news platform Patch pinkslipped the bulk of its remaining staff Wednesday, according to media reports.

The move comes less than two weeks after AOL sold the majority of the asset to Hale Global, which promised to take “the necessary steps to ensure Patch remains a vibrant part of the community.” Media reports indicate that anywhere from two-thirds to 80 percent of remaining staff lost their job in a mass phone firing that affected hundreds.

In a phone call obtained by media blogger Jim Romenesko, Patch COO Leigh Zarelli Lewis announced to staffers that Wednesday was their last day of employment.  The call is embedded below.

Also read: AOL Sells Majority of Patch

“Patch is being restructured in connection with the creation of the joint venture with Hale Global,” Lewis said in the recording.

“Hale Global has decided which Patch employees will receive an offer of employment to move forward in accordance with their vision for Patch and which will not. Unfortunately, your role has been eliminated, and you will no longer have a role at Patch, and today will be your last day of employment with the company.”

In August, Patch laid off nearly 500 employees in an effort to improve the company’s struggling financial situation.

Also read: AOL Patch Layoffs Begin, Nearly 500 Expected to Go

Patch had been a drain on AOL finances for several years. In November the company reported a third-quarter earnings crunch due to its problems with Patch, including a pre-tax restructuring charge of $19 million and an impairment charge of $25 million, which drove operating income down 61 percent. The site had lost as much as $300 million for AOL since it was folded into the company in 2009.

Patch and Hale Global have not yet responded to TheWrap‘s requests for comment.

Listen to the recording below: