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Sports Illustrated Publisher Maven Cuts 9% of Staff, Expects $30 Million Loss

The company also secured a $12 million line of credit

“Sports Illustrated” publisher Maven Media Brands is cutting 9% of staff — roughly 30 employees — across all departments in a bid to curb losses from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maven Chief Executive James Heckman said in a statement Monday the company expects to see a $30 million drop in revenue this year and said the goal of the layoffs is to “get ahead of the economic tumult triggered by the novel coronavirus pandemic and ensure the ongoing strength of the company.”

Seattle-based Maven employed 332 people prior to the cuts, Heckman said.

The cuts come after Maven directed “Sports Illustrated” to lay off 40 employees last October, after buying the publication for $45 million. The layoffs were ordered by Heckman and Ross Levinson, former publisher of the Los Angeles Times and current “Sports Illustrated” head. At the time, the two said the laid-off reporters would be replaced by up to 200 contract and freelance workers.

“Sports Illustrated” journalists are again being let go and consist of roughly 6% of the current overall cost reduction, Heckman said.

“Our duty and responsibility is to provide a stable future for our remaining 300 team members and to the future of a business that is sustaining hundreds of struggling media companies and journalists that would be at risk of job loss or insolvency,” Heckman added.

In addition to the latest wave of layoffs, Heckman said Maven will refrain from new hires in the near future and reduce executive salaries by 30%.

The media company also secured $12 million in debt funding from investment bankers B. Riley to “provide a financial buffer in case economic matters deteriorate further,” Heckman said.

Maven also expects to net around $4 million in savings from merging the operations of financial reporting website TheStreet and machine learning firm LiftIgniter, which it bought on March 19. The merger will include “print and studio production, circulation, and general vendor agreements,” Heckman said.