International internet consultancy Razorfish, the beleaguered former golden Piscean of the e-bubble, has axed its London operation as part of a major cost-cutting drive.

The shop opened its London office in 1998 with a raft of high profile clients, gained mainly through the acquisition of smaller UK e-shops. Its early clientele included British Telecom, the Millennium Dome, NatWest, Shell and the Spice Girls – all of whom but Shell and NatWest now mirror Razorfish’s decline.

Razorfish, sited with engaging incongruity in Poultry Avenue nearby London’s Smithfield meat market, has already implemented draconian staff cuts, slashing its payroll from around 250 to just 53 employees – some of whom may now be offered jobs at the firm’s Amsterdam office.

Offices in Italy and Finland have already gone under and, of the survivors, London was the overseas outpost thought least likely to post a profit in the foreseeable future. In addition to the firm’s New York-headquarters, Razorfish continue to operate offices in Amsterdam, Boston, Hamburg, Los Angeles, Mannheim, San Francisco, Stockholm and Oslo.

News of the London closure caused Razorfish shares to rally Friday on the New York stock exchange by 12.5% to 18 cents.

News source: BBC Online Business News (UK)