WWE cuts staff in economic smackdown - 10th January 2009
World Wrestling Entertainment, a US media group whose superstar wrestlers body-slam their opponents into oblivion, has proved no match for the US recession, unveiling on Friday a round of job cuts.
The company said it was slashing 10 per cent of its staff across all global operations to save an estimated $US8 million ($A11.22 million) annually.
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) did not specify the number of jobs to be tossed, but according to the latest available figures, the Stamford, Connecticut-based firm had 570 employees at the end of 2007.
"These efficiencies will help position the company for the long-term, by placing it in a stronger, more flexible position," said Linda McMahon, chief executive at WWE.
"With these actions, we believe we can execute our key strategic initiatives, including our digital strategy and international expansion, in a more profitable manner."
The company said it would take an estimated $US3 million ($A4.21 million) restructuring charge in the first quarter of 2009, part of efforts to cut its cost base by $US20 million ($A28.04 million) in 2009.
The deepening US recession, which began in December 2007, has weighed on the company's bottom line. Third-quarter profit in 2008 sank 38 per cent from a year ago, to $US5.3 million ($A7.43 million).
WWE organises the fights and manages the colourful male and female wrestling "talents" who pound, kick and insult each other in the kitschy entertainment sport.
In 2007, WWE had sales of $US485 million ($A680.03 million): 65 per cent from television broadcasts, 28 per cent from tickets and paraphernalia, and 7 per cent from its website.
Shares in WWE, which realises a quarter of its sales outside North America, have sagged about 45 per cent in the past nine months.
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