Fox Buyout Offers Accepted By Up to 400 Employees (EXCLUSIVE)

Between 300 and 400 film and television staffers have taken voluntary buyouts at 21st Century Fox, Variety has learned.

That represents roughly half of the employees who were given the option of taking the package, according to insiders. Fox initiated the buyout program as part of a company-wide effort to cut $250 million from its budget. Fox currently has no plans for layoffs.   The company believes it can potentially lower expenses in other ways beyond staffing reductions.

Various division heads will now look at their departments to see if the work of the employees who are leaving can be reassigned or will require new hires. Some functions may be combined.

Fox has approximately 20,000 employees globally. Most of the buyouts took place at the company’s domestic operations, with the bulk of those coming from its Los Angeles offices.

Last February, Fox sent out proposals to roughly all staffers who had logged at least 15 years at the media conglomerate. Staffers who took the buyout received a month’s pay for each year they worked.

Consumer products chief Jeffrey Godsick, Fox Searchlight production chief Claudia Lewis and Fox Broadcasting marketing EVP Laurel Bernard are among the senior executives who opted to take buyouts.

When it announced the buyouts, Fox said the cost savings would help the organization be more “agile and structured to fully capture the many opportunities ahead of us.” Media companies are facing challenges from digital players such as Netflix and Amazon, whose wealth of online content is encouraging consumers to stream shows. That, in turn, creates headaches for businesses that earn the bulk of their profits from ad revenue and ticket sales.

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