Warner Bros. To Axe 800 Staff Or 10% Of Workforce

Units affected will be notified within weeks
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Warner Bros. is eliminating 800 positions with the names of those affected to be identified in the next few weeks. In a memo released today, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment Barry Meyer and president, Alan Horn, wrote that 10% of global staff would be affected. Further cost cutting will accompany the layoffs.

“The changing entertainment business landscape, shifting consumer demand and the overall state of the economy have affected companies around the world and Warner Bros. is not immune to these factors," read the memo. The company is planning to outsource its accounts payable to Cap Gemini.

The unusually empathetic memo continued, “We want to reiterate that these staff reductions and organizational changes, which are being made at every level across both corporate and divisional businesses, were our last resort to help position the company for its future.”

Time Warner began the year with a $25 billion write-down of its assets. Warner Bros. was impacted by the bankruptcies of several U.K. retailers that sold its home entertainment products. However Warner Bros. notched the top selling DVD of 2008 with Batman sequel “Dark Knight,” selling 13.5 million copies globally in its first week

In a note on January 8, Bernstein Research revised downwards its guidance for the company citing ad declines at AOL. It also lowered its estimates for the studio noting slowing earnings from home video sales, theatrical and consumer products.

A spokesman for Warner Bros. said the lay-off announcement did not affect the CW in which Warner Bros. is a joint venture partner with CBS Corp.