Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B) has announced restructuring plans designed to better align its organization and overall cost structure with evolving economic conditions. These changes include broad-based staffing reductions, which will be implemented across all divisions of the Company. This process will result in the reduction of Viacom’s workforce by approximately 7 percent, or 850 positions. The Company is also suspending senior level management salary increases for 2009. In addition, reflecting a comprehensive review of its operations, the Company will write down certain programming and other assets.
The restructuring and write-down together will result in a pre-tax charge of $400 million to $450 million, or $0.42 to $0.48 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2008. These staffing and compensation actions and write-downs are expected to result in pre-tax savings of $200 million to $250 million in 2009.
Viacom President and CEO Philippe Dauman said, “We are moving rapidly to adapt to the challenges presented by the current economic environment. The changes we are making in our organization and processes will better position Viacom to navigate the economic slowdown and generate sizable efficiencies that will help us to drive our business as the marketplace stabilizes and conditions improve.
“Viacom’s outstanding brands, diverse revenue streams and global footprint all provide a significant and enduring foundation for future growth. The steps we have taken over the last two years, including those we are announcing today, have put us on very sound financial footing with a strong balance sheet and substantial cash flow. This affords us the flexibility to successfully deal with challenges while also capitalizing on the opportunities that inevitably arise in uncertain times. We are committed to continuing this prudent course and aggressively managing our businesses for long-term growth.”