Paramount Global is gearing up for significant layoffs in February, impacting hundreds of employees across its various divisions, according to inside sources. While initial speculation hinted at about 800 job cuts, it appears the number may be slightly lower, though the exact extent remains uncertain. The downsizing efforts are part of the company’s ongoing cost-cutting measures.
Executives at Paramount have reportedly been assigned reduction targets to meet, with the layoffs set to be executed in February. The affected employees might be asked to leave shortly after being notified, possibly within three days, a practice not unfamiliar to laid-off Paramount workers during previous rounds of cuts.
The media giant, which faced multiple rounds of layoffs over the past 14 months, is navigating challenges such as pay-TV cord-cutting, a soft advertising market, losses in its streaming operations, and volatility in the movie business. Paramount’s stock value has dipped significantly since the 2019 merger of Viacom and CBS that formed the company.
Simultaneously, National Amusements, Inc. (NAI), led by Shari Redstone and holding the majority of voting shares in Paramount Global, is reportedly exploring acquisition offers. Companies like Apollo Global Management, Skydance Media, and RedBird Capital have shown interest in acquiring NAI. NAI owns a portfolio of movie theaters and nearly 80% of voting shares.
As the layoffs are contemplated, reports suggest that NAI is discussing selling its control of Paramount at auction, adding further uncertainty to the company’s future. Paramount aims to return to positive earnings growth in 2024 but faces challenges in a weak ad market and ongoing losses in streaming, particularly with Paramount+.
With carriage deals set to expire, including Charter’s Spectrum deal in the spring, Paramount faces a pivotal moment in 2024. The company might undergo structural changes, potentially splitting its cable network, stations, Pluto, and Paramount+ from its movie and TV production studios.
A Paramount spokesperson was not available for immediate comment on these developments. The situation remains fluid, and the industry awaits further updates on the company’s direction and potential ownership changes.