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WarnerMedia offers buyouts to Turner employees amid reorganization

WarnerMedia offers buyouts to Turner employees amid reorganization
John Stankey is CEO of WarnerMedia, which is offering buyouts to some Turner employees. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

WarnerMedia began offering buyouts to veteran Turner employees Wednesday as part of a broader reorganization of the AT&T-owned media giant.

The company is offering voluntary early-retirement packages to workers age 55 and older with 10 years of service, according to a memo to employees. The company has not indicated a target number of buyouts.

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Staffing reductions, which were first reported by the Wall Street Journal, were widely anticipated at Turner, whose networks were recently split among various WarnerMedia divisions.

Earlier this month, WarnerMedia placed Turner units TNT, TBS and Tru TV under newly hired Bob Greenblatt, the former NBC Entertainment chief who now also oversees HBO. Greenblatt was installed as chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment under WarnerMedia Chief Executive John Stankey.

Other Turner channels, including Turner Classic Movies and Cartoon Network, were given to Warner Bros., and CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker now also oversees Turner’s sports networks.

The buyouts at Turner came nearly two months after HBO employees were offered similar exit packages.

HBO Chairman Richard Plepler and Turner President David Levy both recently announced they would be leaving their jobs. Separately, the Burbank studio Warner Bros. lost its CEO Kevin Tsujihara this month amid a sex scandal involving a young actress.

WarnerMedia brass has indicated it wants to spend its money on content and innovation at its divisions, including HBO, to better compete with Netflix and Walt Disney Co. in the streaming era.

AT&T is also looking to reduce its substantial debt load after spending $85 billion to acquire the company formerly known as Time Warner Inc. last year.

AT&T has about $170 billion in long-term debt, according to regulatory filings, and Chief Executive Randall Stephenson has said reducing that figure is a top priority.

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