NEW YORK - The Perseus Books Group said Thursday that it would shut down two imprints and lay off 24 employees following its March 1 acquisition of the Avalon Publishing Group.

Perseus runs some of the leading independent presses, including Basic Books, PublicAffairs, and Da Capo Press.

"We have spent the past two months analyzing how best to bring the companies together," Perseus president and CEO David Steinberger said. "There are areas of Avalon which we are investing in, like travel, and then there are areas where we think it makes sense to cut back."

Perseus is letting 24 of 91 Avalon employees go, and Steinberger said that 21 more may leave depending on discussions about "open positions we have available in the organization."

Overall, Perseus has about 450 employees.

Steinberger also announced that the literary Counterpoint Press imprint will be sold and that two other imprints, Carroll & Graf Publishers and Thunder's Mouth Press, will be closed because "there is a fair amount of overlap between the identities of these imprints" and others at Perseus.

Thunder's Mouth is a former Avalon imprint with a focus "on popular culture, science, and current affairs," according to its Web site. Carroll & Graf, also once part of Avalon, "publishes a wide range of fiction and nonfiction, including history, current affairs, and mysteries."

Recent Perseus books include Zbigniew Brzezinski's Second Chance, Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus' Banker to the Poor, and This Moment on Earth, by former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry.

All scheduled future releases, including Conrad Black's biography of Richard M. Nixon and another book by Yunus, will be published, Steinberger said.