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Global layoffs begin at Paramount; CEO Bob Bakish tells departing employees: ‘Your talents have helped us advance our mission’

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

An internal memo from CEO Bob Bakish (read below) did not disclose figures. A person familiar with the cuts put the total number at 800, consistent with a report from Deadline last month. Bakish confirmed the planned cuts during a “Bob Live” event at City Hall in January. The extent and details of the workforce reductions will be discussed during the day.

As of December 31, 2022, Paramount had 24,500 full- and part-time employees in 37 countries around the world, with approximately 5,800 employees assigned to projects.

Like its media peers, Paramount has been hurt by an advertising slowdown and a difficult transition from linear television to streaming. The company will report its fourth quarter results at the end of February.

The sobering news Tuesday follows a company highlight Sunday with the broadcast of Super Bowl LVIII. The TV show set a record as the most watched of all time, with 123.4 million viewers across CBS, Paramount+, Nickelodeon and Univision.

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

He continued: “While I realize these changes are by no means easy, as I said last month, I am confident this is the right decision for our future. These adjustments will allow us to build on our momentum and execute on our strategic vision for the year ahead – and I firmly believe we have plenty of reasons to be excited. »

Reports continue to circulate about Paramount’s future as a standalone entity, with a number of suitors expressing interest in acquiring all or part of the company. Created by the merger of CBS and Viacom and controlled by Shari Redstone’s National Amusements, Paramount has attracted interest from Byron Allen and David Ellison’s Skydance Media, as well as numerous private equity firms. Deadline reported Monday that Apollo Global Management backed out after initially considering making a bid for National Amusements and its majority stake in Par’s voting stock.

Here is Bakish’s full memo:

Team,

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

This will require us to continue to increase our revenues while reducing our costs. And unfortunately, part of
cost rationalization 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 before the close of business today.

We will directly share details regarding next steps and do everything we can to support you during this transition period.

There will also be impacts in some of our offices based outside of the United States. These notifications will occur over time, consistent with our local legal obligations in each of the countries where we operate.

To those we part ways with, we are incredibly grateful for your hard work and dedication. Your talents have helped us advance our mission of unlocking 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 solution.
decision for our future. These adjustments will allow us to build on our momentum and execute on our strategic vision for the year ahead – and I firmly believe we have plenty of reasons to be excited.

We are coming off a successful event with Super Bowl LVIII which showcased all the power of
Primordial. We’re launching a wide range of new and returning programs in prime time on CBS, and last night marked Jon Stewart’s return to The Daily Show. We continue to release films, like this week’s Bob Marley: One Love, that further our legacy as one of Hollywood’s most iconic film studios. And we come together more than ever to form One Paramount, with a continued commitment to our values, cultural imperatives and fostering an inclusive workplace.

We should all take time this week to support each other – our colleagues who will be affected, as well as our remaining teams – to adapt to this change. Personally, I want our entire team to know that I’m committed to sharing updates when we can.

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

Best,
Bob

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