EXCLUSIVE: Amid speculation about its future, Paramount Global is proceeding with a new wave of staff reductions in February, sources tell Deadline. I hear the cuts will impact hundreds of employees across the entire company.
For the past several days, there has been chatter that Paramount layoffs of about 800 are imminent. It followed a WSJ report in December that the company was mulling the potential elimination of more than 1,000 jobs in early 2024 to rein in costs. According to sources, the extent of the cuts will not be quite as big but the layoffs will be in the hundreds, affecting virtually every division. I hear senior executives have been given reduction targets to hit.
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The layoffs will be implemented in February, I hear. No one is commenting and things are still in flux but Feb. 13 has been rumored as a potential target date. According to sources, the impacted employees may be asked to leave quickly after being notified, as quickly as within three days. If that is the case, it wouldn’t be unprecedented; I hear laid-off Paramount employees had a similar short window to depart following a round of cuts during the pandemic. A rep for Paramount declined comment.
Paramount — along with a number of other media companies — went through multiple rounds of cuts over the past 14 months. In November 2022, CBS Studios and Paramount TV Studios were impacted. In February, there were layoffs at Showtime. In May, the company proceeded to eliminate 25% of staff in its domestic cable networks and shutter its long-standing MTV News division after 36 years on air.
While the cuts are being contemplated, National Amusements, Inc., the Shari Redstone-led company that owns the majority of voting shares in Paramount Global, has reportedly been fielding acquisition offers. Apollo Global Management is among the companies that have reportedly contacted the investment bank advising NAI, BDT & MSD Partners; there also have been rumored overtures from Skydance Media and RedBird Capital.
NAI owns a portfolio of movie theaters as well as nearly 80% of voting shares.
Paramount, which was formed when Viacom and CBS reunited in 2019, has faced challenges related to pay-TV cord-cutting, a soft ad market, a loss-producing streaming operation and volatility in the movie business where it just scored a hit with Mean Girls. The company’s stock is now worth less than half of what it was when the merger closed.
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