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As Disney’s stock was touching another all-time high on Wednesday, about 150 employees at the conglomerate’s filmed entertainment segment were getting word that their services were no longer needed.
The pink slips, insiders say, weren’t unexpected, as published reports that began to surface last week indicated they were coming, and because word was out that CEO Robert Iger was looking for efficiencies and cost-cutting measures in areas where digital technologies were reshaping businesses, such as in home entertainment.
Other areas affected by layoffs include production, marketing and distribution as the company goes forth with its stated goal of fewer but potentially larger films, relying heavily on Pixar and Marvel and, more recently, Lucasfilm and a distribution deal with DreamWorks. Layoffs also hit Disney’s music unit and are also expected in consumer products, insiders have said.
“As part of an ongoing review to ensure that the Studios’ operational structure and economics align with the demands of the current marketplace, we have made the difficult decision to reduce our staffing levels in several divisions of the Studio,” read a statement from Disney.
Wall Street has been mostly bullish on Disney — the second most most profitable of the seven major entertainment conglomerates — and on Wednesday its shares were 1 percent higher in midday trading. The stock is up nearly 50 percent in the past 12 months.
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