Australia's biggest newspaper publisher News Ltd will cut staff in a major restructure that expands its online and pay TV presence and integrates traditional print with its growing digital business.
News Ltd chief executive Kim Williams revealed the restructure in a video message to staff on Wednesday - hours after the company confirmed it was seeking to buy James Packer's Consolidated Media for $1.97 billion, acquiring in the process ConsMedia's 25 per cent stake in pay TV operator Foxtel.
Mr Williams said while jobs would be lost among News' 8,000 staff, he was unable to say how many.
"Regrettably, we will have to make a variety of positions redundant," he said.
"There will be new skills hires also."
News Ltd's restructure follows rival Fairfax Media's announcement on Monday that it would cut 1,900 positions, sell its major printing presses and downsize its broadsheets to tabloid size in a push to cut costs and shift its operations towards online publishing.
News will reduce its Australian operations from 19 to five divisions and streamline the editorial and sales teams within its newspaper stable, which includes The Daily Telegraph, The Australian and Herald Sun.
The formerly separate News Digital Media will be integrated into each division.
"The new operating model is designed to empower staff to work smarter and faster," Mr Williams said, pledging to eliminate wasteful duplication.
Mr Williams also confirmed News Ltd has bought online publisher Australian Independent Business Media, which produces Business Spectator and Eureka Report.
The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) cautiously welcomed News Ltd's commitment to print and digital products.
However MEAA federal secretary Paul Murphy said he would seek further detail on redundancies.
"We don't want people, particularly in the current climate ... left hanging uncertain about their futures," he said.
The purchase of Consolidated Media would lift News Ltd's stake in Foxtel to 50 per cent - equal with co-owner Telstra - and its ownership of Fox Sports to 100 per cent.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has said it will review the proposed purchase.
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