WMA cuts staff as merger proceeds

Agency laying off about 100 employees

With merger plans moving toward finalization, WMA began Monday putting out more than 100 pink slips to personnel that won't be included in the combined William Morris Endeavor Entertainment. The layoffs cut across all divisions and mostly involve lower-level agents and their assistants in the Los Angeles and New York offices.

The company is giving those let go two weeks in the office to wrap up business and make their exit plans. Severance packages reportedly are significantly more robust than what is legally mandated.

As for higher-profile WMA staff, motion picture lit agent David Lonner, Steve Rabineau and top scripted agent Aaron Kaplan are leaving the WMA fold on their own, but it is not clear which, if any, other ranking agents will follow their lead.

Endeavor's downsizing plans remain unclear but are likely to be less sizable; high-ranking agents from that team who are leaving of their own accord include co-founder Tom Strickler and lit agent Richard Abate.

WMA and Endeavor's boards voted to authorize the merger of the companies late last month. The Federal Trade Commission approved the merger Monday.