UPDATE: Here’s what I’ve found out beyond the memo to staff (below) about the layoffs which I, other journalists, and of course the employees themselves had been expecting and dreading: While no final decisions have been made internationally, the company expects the layoffs, elimination of open positions, and outsourcing, to affect nearly 800 positions worldwide, or approximately 10% of its 8,000 employees.

–  The 800 positions break down as follows: 200 open positions around the world; 300 outsourced (with a third being offered employment opportunities with Capgemini and continue to be based in Burbank), and 300 lay-offs.

– Warner Bros claims it has examined “every aspect” of its businesses in order to cut costs “responsibly”. The company explains its outsourcing of certain job functions to a third-party company allows it to provide resources at a lower cost to help mitigate the possibility of any further staff reductions. To that end, they will outsource the U.S.-based components of certain parts of MIS and accounts payable. Capgemini is the company’s primary partner in this process.

– Almost 1/3 of people in the positions that were outsourced will be offered employment opportunities with Capgemini and continue to be based in Burbank. (It is their option whether or not they choose to accept Capgemini’s job offer.)

– Despite the fact that Warner Bros performed solidly in 2008, this decision to announce layoffs reflects changes necessary “for stability and growth” going forward. “Warner Bros is not immune to the changing entertainment business landscape, shifting consumer demand and the state of the global economy,” an insider tells me.

Yeah, I know this stinks. Here is the Warner Bros memo:

From: Executive Communique
Sent: Tuesday, January 20, 2009 10:23 AM
Subject: A Message From Barry Meyer and Alan Horn

Dear Colleagues:

We’d like to take a moment and provide some follow-up information to the memo you received earlier this month regarding cost containment at the Studio. We are very sad to announce that based on the global economic situation and current business forecasts, the Studio will have to make staff reductions in the coming weeks in order to control costs.

This was a very difficult decision to make, and one that was not made easily. Despite the fact that the company performed solidly in 2008, this decision reflects changes necessary for stability and growth going forward. 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.

We have examined every aspect of our business in order to cut costs responsibly and to keep staff reductions to a minimum. One way to achieve these objectives is to outsource certain job functions to a third-party company. To that end, we will be outsourcing the U.S.-based components of certain parts of MIS and accounts payable. This initiative, as well as the ongoing analysis of our global MIS and finance and accounting structures, will be explained in more detail to those business groups directly impacted.

Over the next few weeks, specific information regarding cost cutting measures, including staff reductions, will be shared with you on a divisional or departmental level by your management team.

We will also continue to review our global operations to make sure we’re operating as efficiently and effectively as possible, without negatively affecting our divisions’ ability to conduct business.

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.

We understand that these are difficult times for everyone and appreciate your patience and support as we move through them together.

Sincerely,
Barry Meyer, Alan Horn

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