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Update: Buyouts, Layoffs Loom at Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. Entertainment Chief Executive Kevin Tsujihara has confirmed that layoffs are planned for the Burbank studio. In a memo sent to employees on Thursday, Tsujihara said that in making the studio operations as efficient and effective as possible, management was doing its best to minimize staffing cuts. “However, and it pains me to say this, positions will be eliminated at every level – across the Studio,” Tsujihara wrote in the memo, obtained by entertainment industry trade publications on Friday. The memo did not state how many cuts would be made in the feature film, television and home entertainment divisions. It came following reports that Warner Bros. would offer buyouts to employees and then make layoffs if needed. The studio’s box office results so far this year of $1.08 billion put it in third place behind 20th Century Fox and Walt Disney Co. While “The Lego Movie” and this summer’s “Godzilla” reboot were hits, the studio had some duds, including “Jersey Boys,” directed by Clint Eastwood, and the comedy “Blended” starring Adam Sandler. Bloomberg News said the pressure to cut costs is coming from Jeff Bewkes, chief executive of Time Warner Inc., parent of Warner Bros., who has promised investors that the company can create more value by remaining independent that through a merger. In July, Time Warner rejected an unsolicited $80 billion acquisition bid by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, an offer that Murdoch formally withdrew in early August. Time Warner share prices had increased after the takeover bid became public but then dropped more than 10 percent after Murdoch withdrew the offer. Turner Broadcasting System, the Time Warner division that includes CNN and TBS, previously announced it would offer buyouts to about 6 percent of its U.S. workforce. .

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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