Fox Chief Hints at More Downsizing to Come

“These are programs that are going to be ongoing,” CEO James Murdoch says of buyouts during earnings call

Rupert Murdoch Lachlan Murdoch James Murdoch
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The current wave of downsizing at 21st Century Fox may not be the last.

Speaking to investors Monday following the release of the company’s second-quarter 2016 earnings, CEO James Murdoch indicated that the company has designs on cutting payroll beyond the buyout program that the company initiated last week in its film and TV businesses.

“One number that has been out there is really $250 million of savings around this particular program, but these are programs that are going to be ongoing,” Murdoch said. “And they run across all the businesses.”

Last week, Fox announced a buyout program targeting U.S. television and film employees. Those buyouts, which aim to eliminate $250 million in payroll, are voluntary at this time. Employees affected by the buyout will leave the company in May.

Fox executives were asked about the buyout on their earnings call Monday.

“First of all, cost management is something that happens in a business on a continuous basis,” Murdoch said. “So while it was a public event with some changes that we’re making at the networks group and at the studios in the company there, we focus on costs across our business all the time. We haven’t really quantified overall how that works, but I think it’s really 2017 and 2018 and going forward to really make the business the right shape.”

Fox reported mixed earnings results for second quarter 2016 Monday, reporting $0.44 earnings per share on $7.38 billion in revenue. Analyst expectations for the company had been $0.44 on $7.53 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

The company credited its cable television business and gains in advertising at Fox Broadcasting with driving growth.