Time Inc. axes 300; magazines close bureaus

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Time Inc. revealed it is laying off close to 300 people, mostly on the edit side, while closing three bureaus at its flagship Time magazine: Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta.

People is closing four bureaus: Miami, Chicago, Washington, and Austin, Texas.

The cuts, which represent 2.8% of Time Inc.'s total workforce of 10,500 and which Time Inc. revealed for the first time today, will come through a combination of layoffs and buyout packages being offered to Guild members.

A Time Inc. spokesperson wouldn't disclose details about the positions being cut or how they were distributed throughout the magazine, although it has been assumed that its largest titles took the brunt of the cuts.

Of the 289 staffers, 172 are editorial and the remainder from the business side. Of the slated editorial cuts, Time Inc. plans for 86 to come from Guild volunteers who have been given until mid-February to accept buyout offers. The other 86 have come from layoffs that are being carried out today.

Announcing the cuts in a staff note today, Time Inc. CEO Ann Moore wrote: "While we continue to invest in our core magazines, we are also focused on transforming our workforce and broadening our digital capabilities in order to become a truly multiplatform publisher. We've made a lot of progress. Many of our Web sites have matured into strong and popular brand vehicles, while others are relaunching new designs with fresher content. Meanwhile, our magazines continue to be some of the most popular and relevant titles on the newsstand today. But progress brings change and we need to continue to evolve to meet the cost pressures and challenges presented by our rapidly-shifting industry."

Another 500 are expected to leave the company when Time Inc. sells its Time4 Media enthusiast group and its parenting titles, representing 18 magazines of Time Inc.'s roughly 250.

About five bidders are expected to submit final offers, which are due Monday. Some of the magazines have struggled financially, and some private-equity backed interested parties have dropped out of the bidding process, sources said.

A company spokeswoman released a statement regarding the cuts this morning: "Today Time Inc. announced layoffs in several business areas on both the editorial and publishing sides of a number of titles. These layoffs are part of the necessary restructuring of our business as we continue to transform into a multiplatform publisher and our focus on increasing efficiencies and allowing for closer collaboration between our digital and print businesses."

Today's layoffs will be the latest in a series of cost-cutting measures at the beleaguered publisher amid a decline in print ad revenue and competition from the Internet. The week before Christmas, Time Inc. laid off 27 people in its corporate consumer marketing unit, bringing to 577 the number the company has shed in the past year. An additional 500 will leave Time Inc. following the sale of Time4 Media properties.
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