WarnerMedia Offers Buyouts to Turner Employees

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WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey

The move suggests that voluntary leaves will come before large numbers of people are let go as AT&T strives to rid itself of duplicative job functions and rein in spending at its new asset.

A memo went out on Wednesday to Turner employees offering volunteer severance packages aimed at those 55 years and older and who have served a minimum of 10 years, people familiar with the matter confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.

WarnerMedia is trying to give options for long-term employees amid a companywide reorganization in the wake of AT&T's $85 billion takeover of what used to be known as Time Warner.

"Across the company, we are identifying opportunities for savings to drive growth and profitability," read the memo from Turner's Angela Santone, executive vp and global chief human resources officer.

While layoffs have long been presumed at WarnerMedia, AT&T CFO John Stevens told Wall Street last month that "a finance bean-counter from a telephone company doesn't want to go in and spoil what is a tremendously good asset."

The remark indicated that wholesale pink slips weren't expected to be handed out, and Wednesday's memo suggests that voluntary leaves will come before large numbers of people are let go as AT&T strives to rid itself of duplicative job functions and rein in spending at its new asset.

Representatives for WarnerMedia declined to comment. The Wall Street Journal earlier reported on the buyouts offered. 

The telecommunications company is also looking to put a dent in its $171 billion debt, a level that is among the highest in corporate America. An AT&T spokesperson told THR on March 8 that the goal is "to find efficiencies in how our companies work together to ensure we can focus our investments and resources into developing more high-quality content and not on duplicative administrative functions."

Meanwhile, a recent shake-up at WarnerMedia saw HBO CEO Richard Plepler leave and former NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt hired as chairman to oversee entertainment assets, including HBO, as well as the streaming properties that will compete with Netflix, while CNN chief Jeff Zucker added sports to his portfolio.

Plus, Warner Bros. head Kevin Tsujihara resigned after a THR report showed he was promoting an actress whom he was personally involved with. On an interim basis, he was replaced by Toby Emmerich, who oversees the studio’s movie operations as Warner Bros. motion picture group chairman, and Peter Roth, who supervises TV as Warner Bros. television group president and chief content officer, along with Warner Bros. Entertainment executive vp and CFO Kim Williams.