AnswerThink to Scale Back Operations in Hub

Online marketing specialist AnswerThink is closing its office here and cutting back staff in London, agency chairman and CEO Ted Fernandez confirmed.

The layoffs oc-cur as the Miami-based company tries to consolidate staff and operations after An-swerThink Con-sulting Group’s merger last year with Think New Ideas, Fernandez said.

However, sources said the moves are also driven by a general softness in the Internet segment and lackluster new business performances.

The Boston office had between 50 and 80 employees a few months ago, working on assignments from Gillette, Unilever and numerous other clients, sources said. Today, the outpost maintains a “handful” of employees completing work for several project cli-ents, sources said.

Some Boston employees have been offered jobs with the company, including posts at AnswerThink of-fices in Burlington, Mass., and New York , sources said. A recent layoff at AnswerThink’s 54-person London office may have claimed 80 percent of the staff, sources said.

Fernandez did not elaborate on the overall severity or scope of the cuts. Fernandez said eight employees were recently let go in Boston, and approximately 10 or 11 were dismissed in London.

“The most significant office impacted by the consolidation of resources was Boston,” said Fernandez. He added, however, that merger-related consolidation has also taken place in Atlanta and is currently taking place in New York and Philadelphia. The company says it employs more than 1,700 people worldwide.

Locally, AnswerThink has never been as firmly established as better-known competitors, including Digitas, Boston, and Razorfish, Cambridge, Mass., said sources in the online marketing sector. The company’s stock traded as high as $40 in the past year, but has sold in the mid-teens of late.