GLOBAL – Hewitt Associates says it will eliminate up to 350 jobs as part of its planned acquisition of Exult – with some losses taking place outside the US.

“The combined Hewitt/Exult workforce will have over 18,000 associates. Of this population, we currently expect about 200-350 positions to be eliminated in the combined organization (about 1-2% of our combined population),” Hewitt said in a filing to the US regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“The initial group of positions targeted for elimination will be communicated in early September,” Hewitt said. The jobs losses will affect employees of both firms.

“This is a preliminary estimate and may be adjusted as the planning and integration process continues.” Staff will be able to apply for other jobs within the company.

It added: “Most of the positions affected will be in the US, but some positions outside the US are also expected to be affected.”

The filing said it was “a sensitive situation” for managers and staff – and that staff should stay “focused on client service, and not distracted by issues relating to the merger”.

The filing added: “Our clients, our potential clients, and our competitors are watching us very closely. Some are waiting to see if the planned merger will sidetrack us from our number-one priority, providing exceptional client service.

“That’s why we must stay absolutely focused on the needs of our clients at this time, and not get distracted by issues relating to the merger.”

Illinois-based Hewitt announced in June it would buy California-based Exult for about 690 million dollars in stock to boost its position in the human resources business process outsourcing market.