Sports entertainer WWE to cut 10 per cent of its workforce

If industries around the world are being affected by the global recession, can entertainment be far behind? World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) said it plans to cut 10 per cent of its global workforce to control costs, and increase earnings and margins.

The sports entertainer, which stages live and televised professional wrestling matches, will take a one-time restructuring charge of $3 million, the company said in a statement. In addition to job cuts, WWE said it has also done an evaluation of its operating and capital expenditures, and has identified additional efficiencies.

The company behind television shows such as "Friday Night SmackDown" said the cuts would occur across all areas of the more roughly 600-employee company, yielding expected annual savings of $8 million in compensation and benefit costs.

Performers in World Wrestling Entertainment's live and televised wrestling matches are hired through outside contracts, and are not directly affected by the job cuts, World Wrestling spokesman Robert Zimmerman said. Most of the reductions are expected to be accomplished through layoffs in the first quarter, with some cuts coming through attrition, he said.

"These efficiencies will help position the company for the long term, by placing it in a stronger, more flexible position," CEO Linda McMahon said. "With these actions, we believe we can execute our key strategic initiatives, including our digital strategy and international expansion, in a more profitable manner.''

Shares of WWE were trading down nearly 2 per cent at $11.12 in early morning trade Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.