Zefer Sacks Some U.K. Staff

Zefer, a Cambridge, Mass., Internet consulting firm, is cutting jobs in its London office on slowing business from the United Kingdom and Europe.

The London office “was built at a time when demand was different than it was today,” said Zefer spokeswoman Sara Buda. “So like any smart business, we’ve scaled back.”

Nine employees will remain in London, Buda said. According to the company’s Web site, at least 19 people worked there — five consultants who opened the office in Oct. 1999, and another 14 technical staffers lured from a British Internet service provider six months later.

The London office, the company’s only overseas presence, works with financial service, oil and industrial clients, Buda said. She declined to name specific clients, citing confidentiality agreements, but stressed that Zefer has no plans to close its London office.

When asked if the London layoffs were a harbinger of workforce reductions in U.S., Buda said, “We’re not commenting on that right now.” Company-wide, Zefer employs nearly 800 people, including about 250 in Boston. It also has offices in Chicago, New York, Pittsburgh and San Francisco.

The London cuts are the latest setback for Zefer, which canceled two IPO tries last year. The company has raised approximately $120 million in financing, principally from GTCR Golder Rauner, a Chicago private equity firm.

Buda said Zefer has a strong cash position and continues to improve revenue figures.

Job cuts have become commonplace in the sector. In the last six months, firms with strong Boston ties, including Viant, Sapient and iXL, have laid off hundreds of employees as their hiring outpaced workflow.

Colin C. Haley is managing editor at boston.internet.com.

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