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ESPN to cut 150 production and technical jobs


ESPN to cut 150 production and technical jobs

ESPN is eliminating 150 production and technical employees as the sports broadcasting giant continues to shift its focus to a more digital future. The company says the layoffs, which were announced Wednesday morning in a memo to employees, don’t include on-air talent and will have a minimal impact on the network’s signature SportsCenter news program. ‘‘The majority of the jobs eliminated are in studio production, digital content, and technology and they generally reflect decisions to do less in certain instances and redirect resources,’’ ESPN president John Skipper wrote in a memo. The 38-year-old network has been squeezed by rising fees to broadcast live events. ESPN also has lost about 10 million subscribers during the past six years, based on estimates by Nielsen Media Research. The company says it will grow its business in several key areas, including the planned launch early next year of ‘‘ESPN+,’’ an app-based service that will allow viewers to purchase sporting events a la carte. ESPN is opening a new studio in New York, which will serve as home base for a new show featuring personalities Mike Greenberg, Michelle Beadle, and Jalen Rose. Another new daily show will feature Bomani Jones and Pablo Torre, the network said. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Microsoft to revamp longtime headquarters

Microsoft says it’s overhauling its longtime headquarters with an 18-building construction project that will make room for another 8,000 workers. The announcement came ahead of the company’s annual shareholders meeting Wednesday. Microsoft’s decision to expand on the footprint of its campus in Redmond, Wash., its home since 1986, is in contrast to the highly-publicized office expansion plans of Seattle-based Amazon. Amazon has been looking at cities across North America for a spot to build a second headquarters that will be as big as its Seattle hub. Microsoft Corp. currently employs about 47,000 people in 125 buildings in Washington’s Puget Sound region. It says its project will include renovations and new construction and will take 5 to 7 years. It’s also promising $150 million in transportation improvements and other public amenities. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Tiffany profit up on sales to shoppers in China

Tiffany & Co., which has struggled with online competition and lost its luster with younger shoppers, reported a quarterly profit Wednesday that beat Wall Street’s expectations as shoppers in China snapped up its luxury goods. The high-end jewelry company’s strength in its third quarter mostly came from the Asia-Pacific region, where sales surged 15 percent to $283 million. This was mainly due to strong demand in China. Sales were up 5 percent in Europe to $110 million. But other places didn’t fare as well. In Japan, sales dropped 8 percent to $139 million. While Tiffany managed to squeeze out a 1 percent sales increase in the Americas, that was considered a disappointment. The company said that a downturn in spending by foreign tourists was part of the reason for the soft sales. The New York-based company has stepped up its marketing, using celebrities like Janelle Monae and Zoe Kravitz in advertising. It’s also focusing more on design, and adding more lower-price pieces such as $95 bone china cups that look like paper cups. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



American Airlines sees shortage of pilots during holidays

American Airlines is working to resolve a scheduling fault that gave time off to too many pilots in December, leaving some flights without enough crew during the holiday rush. The glitch is causing staffing shortages on thousands of flights next month, the Allied Pilots Association, the union representing the carrier’s aviators, said in a message to its members. American spokesman Matt Miller declined to quantify the potential number of flights involved. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Royal wedding could bring in $80 million in business

When British royal Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle announced their engagement on Monday, the United Kingdom’s souvenir firms sprang into action. Royals are big business for the United Kingdom, and one analyst expects next year’s wedding will amount to $80 million in additional sales. The marriage of Harry’s older brother, William, to Kate Middleton in April 2011 boosted the number of visitors to the country by 350,000 that month alone, according to the UK Office of National Statistics. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


BuzzFeed cutting 100 jobs

Digital media company BuzzFeed is cutting 8 percent of US employees, or 100 jobs, as changes its business model in a bid to boost revenue. It’s also cutting an unspecified number of UK jobs. The company has 1,700 employees worldwide. A spokeswoman for New York-based BuzzFeed confirmed the layoffs Wednesday. They were first reported by The Wall Street Journal. In a memo to employees, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti said the jobs being cut in the United States were only on the business side. He says BuzzFeed no longer relies on just ‘‘native’’ ads and needs a different kind of sales team. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Chipotle looking for a new CEO

Chipotle is looking for a new CEO to help it recover from a series of food safety scares and slumping sales and return to its heyday, when consumers flocked to its casual Mexican dining restaurants for quality ingredients at a reasonable price. Founder Steve Ells, who currently serves as chairman and CEO, will transition to executive chairman once someone new is in place at the top post. In recent years Chipotle has struggled, and it reported disappointing third-quarter results last month. The company has been working to convince customers that its food is safe since 2015, when its sales plunged after an E. coli outbreak. It has made some progress, but concerns rose again this summer after one of its restaurants in Virginia was temporarily closed after dozens of diners fell ill. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Uber partners with Vietnam firm for rider payments

Uber Technologies Inc. on Wednesday signed a deal with MoMo, Vietnam’s leading financial technology firm, enabling Uber riders to pay for trips using MoMo’s e-wallets in a country where most transactions are done in cash. The partnership is Uber’s first deal with a fin-tech company in Southeast Asia. It aims to catch up with regional rival Grab, which has its own e-wallet service. Backed by Standard Chartered Bank and Goldman Sachs, MoMo has 5 million users in Vietnam who use its e-wallet to pay utility bills, buy plane tickets, and do online shopping. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Snapchat to revise its photo-sharing application

Snap Inc. unveiled a sweeping redesign of its mobile photo-sharing application, hoping to lure more users and advertisers to revive revenue. After three quarters of disappointing sales since going public earlier this year, the company said a simpler design will encourage people to spend more time using Snapchat, increasing the app’s appeal to advertisers over the long term. The main change: separating photos and videos sent to users by their friends from content produced by media companies. Snap touted the move as a philosophical departure from rival Facebook Inc. — BLOOMBERG NEWS