Paramount Global is laying off about 800 employees worldwide — an estimated 3% of its workforce — to cut costs amid a flurry of M&A discussions.
CEO Bob Bakish announced the layoffs on Tuesday in a memo to staff obtained by diversity. According to the memo, laid-off U.S. employees will be informed by the close of business on Tuesday; International employees will be notified “over time in accordance with our local legal obligations in each of the countries in which we operate.”
Bakish’s memo did not specify how many of the company’s employees would be laid off. However, sources confirmed that about 800 will be cut across all divisions, including CBS, Paramount Pictures, Paramount+, Pluto TV, Showtime and cable networks such as Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and MTV.
In the memo, Bakish praised the company’s “blockbuster” Super Bowl LVIII this Sunday – the most-watched telecast in history – which “demonstrated the full power of Paramount.” The CEO also cited a “huge slate of new and returning primetime programming on CBS” and praised Jon Stewart’s return to Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” on Monday (weekly).
“I am confident that this is the right decision for our future,” Bakish wrote in the memo. “These adjustments will allow us to build on our momentum and execute on our strategic vision for the coming year – and I firmly believe we have much to be excited about.”
As of the end of 2022, Paramount Global reported 24,500 full-time employees. The company is expected to report fourth-quarter 2023 results on February 28 after the market close.
The cuts at Paramount Global come as the company has been the target of potential M&A scenarios. Skydance Media CEO David Ellison has been in talks to buy NAI with Shari Redstone, whose National Amusements Inc. owns a majority stake in Paramount Global. And last month, Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group made an unsolicited $30 billion tender offer to acquire Paramount Global, although it is unclear who its financial partners are. Bakish and Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav briefly discussed the idea of a WBD-Paramount Global merger in December, but that came to nothing.
In the third quarter of 2023, Paramount Global’s revenue rose 3% thanks to growth in its streaming and film businesses, but revenue in its largest division, linear TV, fell 8% as traditional television advertising sales continued to decline (down by 14%). in the quarter).
Read Bakish’s memo to Paramount Global employees:
As we shared at Bob Live in January, our company’s return to earnings growth in 2024 is a top priority. To do this, we must continue to increase sales and reduce costs at the same time. And unfortunately, part of the cost cutting means that today we will begin the difficult process of saying goodbye to some of our very valued colleagues at Paramount.
We will notify affected U.S.-based employees by the close of business today. We will share details of next steps with you directly and will do everything we can to support you during this transition period.
There will also be an impact on some of our offices outside the United States. These notifications will be made over time in accordance with our local legal obligations in each of the countries in which we operate.
We are incredibly grateful to those we part ways with for their hard work and dedication. Your talents have helped us advance our mission to unleash the power of content around the world. We are a better company because of you.
While I realize that these changes are by no means easy, as I said last month, I am confident that this is the right decision for our future. These adjustments will allow us to build on our momentum and deliver on our strategic vision for the year ahead – and I firmly believe we have much to be excited about.
With Super Bowl LVIII we have had a blockbuster event that showcased the full capabilities of Paramount. We’re launching a major slate of new and returning primetime programming on CBS, and last night Jon Stewart returned to The Daily Show. This week we continue to release films like Bob Marley: One Love, which strengthen our legacy as one of Hollywood’s most celebrated film studios. And we are coming together as One Paramount more than ever, with an ongoing commitment to our values, cultural imperatives and fostering an inclusive workplace.
We should all take time this week to support each other as we adapt to this change – our colleagues who will be impacted and our remaining teams. Personally, I want our entire team to know that I’m willing to share updates when we’re able.
As always, I am grateful for your commitment to our company. And I am confident that we will master this transition and emerge stronger.