AT&T Cutting 12,000 Jobs; NBCU Layoffs Hit Ad Sales

This story was written by David Kaplan.
AT&T (NYSE: T) is shedding 12,000 jobs, or 4 percent of its workforce, as it seeks to rein in costs in the face of the worsening economy. With the cuts starting this month and continuing into 2009, the carrier expects to take a $600 million charge on severance payments and other related costs. AT&T didn't identify what areas would be most affected by the layoffs, but it did say it would be staffing up in areas such as wireless, video and broadband, though it didn't specify any numerical targets. Back in April, AT&T said it would cut 4,600 posts, mainly management positions. At the time, the San Antonio telco said it expected to hire back that same number over the course of the year as it expanded wireless, TV and broadband and shifted resources from its landline business. Release

-- NBCU lays off 30 in ad sales: The weakening ad market has NBC Universal (NYSE: GE) taking the cleaver to 30 ad sales positions, AdAge reports, citing unidentified sources. The layoffs are part of a $500 million cost savings plan outlined by Jeff Zucker, NBCU president and CEO, in October. While other TV companies are expected to announce layoffs in the near future, NBCU actually had a fairly positive Q3, as profits rose at the GE unit by 10 percent, largely thanks to success on the cable side. The broadcast business continues to struggle, as ratings have fallen off 14 percent year-over-year, tying it for third place.

By David Kaplan