October 7, 2014 Atlanta - Exterior of CNN Center on Tuesday, October 7, 2014. The staggering job cuts announced this week by Atlanta-based Turner Broadcasting highlights a years-long pattern within the broadcasting giant - a shrinking sphere of influence within the company. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC/hshin@ajc.com
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC/hshin@ajc.com

MERGER FALLOUT: AT&T offering Turner employees generous voluntary buyouts

Originally posted Wednesday, March 27, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

And so the cutting begins.

With AT&T finally merging with Time Warner finally in the can, the company is first offering generous voluntary buyouts to older employees at Turner to help trim staff and save money. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, which received a memo sent to employees Wednesday, anyone who has worked at Turner for at least 10 years and has hit the magic age of 55 can receive up to four weeks pay for each year of employment, maxing out at two years worth of salary. 

Earlier this month, AT&T announced a restructuring that will effectively split what had been the independent unit of Turner into three different divisions. TNT, TBS and truTV will go to one division with New York-based HBO. Turner Sports will be absorbed into the unit with CNN and HLN. And Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and TCM will move into a division focused on animation and younger viewers but also includes films. 

Both the heads of HBO and Turner resigned as well. 

The Turner name will effectively fade away in coming months. 

Cutting costs is a necessity for AT&T, which has a whopping $170 billion in net debt to work down.

How many of the thousands of Turner employees in Atlanta are eligible is unclear but there’s no doubt there will a lot of pending departures at CNN Center and the Techwood campus in the coming weeks. 

The WSJ story noted that “AT&T had already been closing offices in its own telecom division before the merger, choosing to focus on its Dallas headquarters as well as expanding its presence in New York and Los Angeles.”

The last time Turner had a buyout was in 2014, long before AT&T came along

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.