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Layoffs underway at Sony Pictures Entertainment

Layoffs are underway at Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Sony Corp.-owned film and television studio that vowed late last year to significantly reduce its overhead.

The cuts, which began Monday and will continue this week, include employees at divisions throughout the studio, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

The layoffs were felt at the studio's Culver City headquarters and at international offices. Among the divisions said to be deeply affected by the staff reductions is Sony Pictures Interactive, the studio's digital marketing arm. 

"We are continuously evolving the business to make SPE more efficient and competitive," Sony Pictures spokesman Charles Sipkins said in a statement. 

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At an investors conference in November, Sony Pictures executives outlined $250 million in budget cuts that were already underway. The studio also hired consultancy Bain & Co. last year to identify $100 million or more in additional cuts.

The layoffs that began Monday are part of this cost-cutting initiative, which was announced after Sony Pictures posted an operating loss of $181 million for the company's fiscal second quarter that ended Sept. 30. 

Last year, Sony Pictures released a handful of high-profile movies that underperformed at the box office, though the studio has put out recent critical and commercial successes "Captain Phillips" and "American Hustle."

This round of layoffs isn't the only recent one the studio has experienced. The Times reported in January that the studio had laid off an undisclosed number of people from its Sony Pictures Technologies group, including the unit's president, Chris Cookson.

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daniel.miller@latimes.com

 

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