Viacom Chops 100 Jobs in Another Cost-Cutting Move

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The bulk of the layoffs are in backroom positions and impact support staff as Viacom fights an internal battle for control with CBS.

Another round of layoffs has hit Viacom.

Around 100 jobs have been cut, a Viacom spokesperson on Tuesday confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter, amid a continuing restructuring while Viacom fights an internal battle for control with CBS and Shari Redstone's National Amusements. “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," the company added in a statement. 

The parent of Paramount Pictures and TV channels including Comedy Central and MTV had previous rounds of layoffs in March 2015 and September 2017 as part of earlier cost-cutting moves. The latest job losses are understood to impact support staff and not touch content creation.

They were also telegraphed by Viacom CEO Bob Bakish during his latest earnings call with analysts on April 25. "Lastly, in our core business, cost transformation efforts continue. And we are on track to deliver in excess of $100 million of savings in this year and more than $300 million in run rate savings in 2019 and beyond," he said on the call.

Analysts have estimated that cost synergies in a potential CBS-Viacom combination could reach $500 million to $750 million or more. But any merger will have to survive opposition from CBS, which earlier this week filed a lawsuit in Delaware Chancery Court against Shari Redstone, Sumner Redstone and National Amusements, Inc., currently the controlling stakeholder for CBS, to block the corporate move.

The latest retrenchment at Viacom comes as consolidation among Hollywood giants has gathered pace, with the Walt Disney Co. unveiling a $52.4 billion deal to acquire large parts of 21st Century Fox and AT&T looking to take over Time Warner amid an antitrust battle with the U.S. government.

Viacom and CBS split into separate companies in 2006.