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Hoyts loop cuts HQ workers

Revamp follows sale of company to joint venture

SYDNEY — One of Australia’s big three exhibs, Hoyts Cinemas, is pinkslipping 28 staffers at its Sydney headquarters due to restructuring.

The revamp follows — but is not directly related to — Hoyts sale in December to a joint venture between Kerry Packer-controlled Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd. and West Australian Newspapers for A$347 million ($260 million).

Previously owned by Packer’s privately held Consolidated Press Holdings, the Hoyts group has 377 screens at 47 sites in Oz and New Zealand, plus Hoyts Distribution and screen advertising contractor Val Morgan.

Hoyts exhib CEO Darin Walters said the restructuring was in the works before the sale, and its aim is to improve Hoyts’ local focus by shifting people and resources from the head office to cinemas in the suburbs and other cities.

Walters would not confirm the number of redundancies and declined to comment on reports that Hoyts’ Sydney staff will move from their offices atop the Hoyts/Greater Union/Village complex on George Street to PBL’s nearby Park Street HQ.

The PBL-WAN takeover became effective Jan. 1, but is subject to approval by PBL shareholders, who will meet March 4.

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