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Hundreds take buyouts at 21st Century Fox

Hundreds of employees from media giant 21st Century Fox have opted to take buyouts as part of the company’s efforts to cut costs at its TV networks and film studio.

The total number of people who accepted benefit packages to leave the company was 300 to 400, according to a person close to the company who declined to be identified discussing internal matters. 

Buyout offers were first announced in February to help the conglomerate cut expenses by $250 million. Job reductions mainly affect Fox’s West Coast offices in Century City. 

Some of the high-profile figures who are taking the buyouts include consumer products president Jeffrey Godsick and Fox Searchlight production head Claudia Lewis.

The cuts account for about 1% of 21st Century Fox’s 20,000 global staff, and include many longtime executives at the TV studio, sports division and movie studio. The New York-based company is not expected to pursue layoffs, said the person close to the company. 

Variety first reported the number of buyouts.

A representative for the company declined to comment.  

Fox’s business has come under pressure because of higher programming and marketing costs. Several Fox TV networks have faced lower ratings and advertising revenue. 

Consumers continue to shift to digital entertainment outlets and away from traditional pay TV offerings.  

Other media companies including Viacom Inc. – which owns Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon and MTV -- and Time Warner Inc. – which has HBO and the Warner Bros. film studio – last year engaged in similar cost-cutting moves. 

Last month Fox reported third-quarter revenue of $7.23 billion, up 6% from the same period a year earlier. Its profit fell to 44 cents a share, down from 47 cents during the same period a year ago.

This year the 20th Century Fox film studio has released major movies such as “Deadpool,” “Kung Fu Panda 3” and “X-Men: Apocalypse.” The latest “X-Men” movie grossed $80 million in its first four days in theaters over the long Memorial Day weekend, which was less than 2014’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”   

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