Hoover's unit to close Linthicum office

Media Technologies also to shut Va. branch

36 workers affected

March 09, 2001|By Andrew Ratner | Andrew Ratner,SUN STAFF

Hoover's Inc., an online business news service, announced yesterday that it is closing a subsidiary's offices in Linthicum and Reston, Va.

Some of the 36 employees of Hoover's Media Technologies will be offered jobs at the parent firm's headquarters in Austin, Texas. Fourteen are employed at the Linthicum office on Elkridge Landing Road and 22 are in Reston.

Hoover's acquired 3-year-old Powerize Inc. in August for $16.5 million in cash and stock and renamed it Hoover's Media Technologies. Three months ago, the company reported that HMT would remain in Linthicum, but "it turned out [moving] was just the best thing to do," company spokesman Lisa Glass said.

"Some employees saw it coming, but there was some shock. You can't deliver news like that and not have some shock," said Carl Shepherd, executive vice president for Hoover's Inc., who traveled from Austin to deliver the news. He also oversees the HMT subsidiary.

He said a "significant" number of local employees have been offered jobs in Austin. Depending on how many choose to move, new staff will be hired in Texas.

The company's initial plan was to consolidate the two offices in the Baltimore-Washington area, but decided moving them closer to the main operation made more sense, Shepherd said.

"Our leases at these locations were up shortly. Space in the Washington area is quite expensive and we have plenty of much lower-cost office space at our new corporate headquarters, which will open in May in Austin," said Lynn Atchison, Hoover's chief financial officer, in a statement.

Hoover's Media Technologies develops and markets information products to serve online businesses, including 10-year-old Hoover's itself, which operates business news Web sites in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Great Britain.

With 2.8 million users in the last quarter of 2000, it describes itself as one of the largest online business news services. Its stock closed down 6 cents a share to $3 on the Nasdaq stock market yesterday.

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