Viacom Lays Off 100 Staffers in Streamlining Effort

Viacom has laid off about 100 people as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to streamline operations across its various divisions.

Viacom confirmed the layoffs Tuesday.

“As part of our broader transformation efforts, we are continuously taking steps to strengthen and evolve Viacom for the future, including a focus on becoming a more agile and efficient organization,” a spokesman said.

Viacom CEO Bob Bakish signaled that some cuts were coming in is remarks the company’s most recently quarterly earnings conference call on April 25.

The cuts are part of a cost-containment effort and also reflect Bakish’s drive to de-silo a company that had long operated as separate fiefdoms across its Paramount Pictures, domestic and international TV units.

Bakish has emphasized that Viacom was not realizing the benefits of its size by having separate departments for numerous administrative and back-office support services. The layoffs this week have come in those areas rather than among staffers engaged in creative, programming and marketing functions, where Viacom has been increasing its investments.

Bakish has also stressed that the company’s long-term transformation effort has been to focus on cost management strategies that don’t involve headcount reductions.

“Most are driven by a continuation of our efforts to de-silo the company and act as one Viacom, consolidating real estate within given markets, standardizing policies and procedures, benefiting from our purchasing scale and more,” Bakish told Wall Street analysts on April 25.

Viacom has been in the spotlight during the past year as Bakish implemented a turnaround plan and the company has engaged with fitful merger negotiations with CBS Corp. Those talks would appear to be dead in light of the lawsuit filed Monday by CBS against National Amusements, the controlling shareholder of CBS and Viacom.

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