Time Warner Offers Buyouts to Turner Employees to Cut Costs

Aug 26, 2014 5:43 pm ET

(Updates with closing stock price in last paragraph.)

Aug. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Time Warner Inc., which recently fended off a $75 billion takeover bid from 21st Century Fox Inc., is offering buyouts to about 6 percent of the U.S. employees at its Turner cable networks.

Turner, which includes the CNN, TNT, TBS and HLN cable channels, is extending the proposal to U.S. employees age 55 and older who have been working at the company for at least 10 years, according to an internal memo today. Fewer than 600 of Turner’s 9,000 U.S. employees are eligible for the buyouts, according to a person familiar with the offer who asked not to be named because the information is private. The company said it will also cut additional jobs.

Turner is focusing on trimming expenses as Time Warner Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bewkes aims to prove to shareholders that his growth plan will create more value than Rupert Murdoch’s withdrawn acquisition offer. The company is trying to increase the fees collected from pay-TV distributors by 10 percent annually, even as ratings have slumped. The Turner unit also includes truTV, Turner Classic Movies and Cartoon Network.

“To support the company’s stated focus on programming, monetization and innovation, we are identifying cost savings and shifting capital allocations to high-growth areas where investment will drive growth and profitability,” the company said in the memo.

Keith Cocozza, a spokesman for New York-based Time Warner, declined to comment on the efforts to reduce costs at Turner.

CNN, which is owned by Time Warner, reported the number of workers offered buyouts earlier today.

Time Warner shares were little changed at $76.98 at the close in New York. Murdoch’s Fox had previously bid $85 a share.