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Paramount Global Layoffs Begin; CEO Bob Bakish Tells 800 Departing Employees “Your Talents Have Helped Us Advance Our Mission”

Paramount Global has begun a planned round of layoffs, telling U.S.-based employees that those affected by the cutbacks will be notified by the end of Tuesday.

An internal memo from CEO Bob Bakish (read it below) did not disclose numbers. A person familiar with the cutbacks estimated the total number at 800, which is consistent with a Deadline report last month. Bakish had confirmed the planned cutbacks at a “Bob Live” town hall event in January. The scope and details of the staff reductions will come into focus over the course of the day.

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The cuts represent about 3% of the company’s global head count. At the start of 2023, Paramount had 24,500 full- and part-time employees in 37 countries, with another 5,800 project-based staffers.

Like its media peers, Paramount has been squeezed by a slowdown in advertising and a challenging transition from linear TV to streaming. The company will report fourth-quarter earnings at the end of February.

Tuesday’s sobering news followed a company high point Sunday with the broadcast of Super Bowl LVIII. The telecast set a record as the most-viewed one of all time, with 123.4 million viewers across CBS, Paramount+, Nickelodeon and Univision.

“To those with whom we are parting ways, we are incredibly grateful for your hard work and dedication,” Bakish wrote in the memo. “Your talents have helped us advance our mission of unleashing the power of content around the world.”

He continued, “While I realize these changes are in no way easy, as I said last month, I am confident this is the right decision for our future. These adjustments will help enable us to build on our momentum and execute our strategic vision for the year ahead – and I firmly believe we have much to be excited about.”

Reports continue to swirl about the future of Paramount as a stand-alone entity, with a number of suitors expressing interest in acquiring some or all of the company. Formed by the 2019 merger of CBS and Viacom and controlled by Shari Redstone’s National Amusements, Paramount has drawn interest from Byron Allen and David Ellison’s Skydance Media, along with private equity investors. Deadline reported Monday that Apollo Global Management has stepped back after initially considering making an offer for National Amusements and its controlling stake in Par’s voting shares.

Here is Bakish’s full memo:

Team,

As we shared at Bob Live in January, returning our company to earnings growth is a top priority in 2024.

This will require us to continue to grow revenue, while reducing costs. And unfortunately, part of streamlining costs means that today, we will begin the difficult process of saying goodbye to some of our very valued colleagues across Paramount.

We will be notifying impacted employees who are based in the U.S. by the close of business today.

We’ll share details directly regarding next steps and will do all we can to support you during this time of transition.

There will also be impacts in some of our offices based outside the U.S. Those notifications will occur over time in line with our local legal obligations in each of the countries where we operate.

To those with whom we are parting ways, we are incredibly grateful for your hard work and dedication. Your talents have helped us advance our mission of unleashing the power of content around the world.

We are a better company because of you.

While I realize these changes are in no way easy, as I said last month, I am confident this is the right decision for our future. These adjustments will help enable us to build on our momentum and execute our strategic vision for the year ahead – and I firmly believe we have much to be excited about.

We are coming off of a blockbuster event with Super Bowl LVIII that showcased the full power of Paramount. We’re launching a big slate of new and returning primetime programming on CBS, and last night marked the return of Jon Stewart to The Daily Show. We continue to release films, like Bob Marley: One Love this week, which reinforce our heritage as one of Hollywood’s most iconic movie studios. And we’re coming together as One Paramount more than ever, with continued commitment to our values, culture imperatives and fostering an inclusive workplace.

We should all take time this week to support one another – our colleagues who will be impacted, as well as our teams remaining – in adjusting to this change. Speaking personally, I want our entire team to know that I am committed to sharing updates when we’re able to.

As always, I am continually grateful for your commitment to our company. And I’m confident we will navigate this transition and emerge stronger than ever.

Best,
Bob

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