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Exclusive: Disney to begin layoffs in studio, consumer products - sources

A part of the signage at the main gate of The Walt Disney Co. is pictured in Burbank, California, May 7, 2012. REUTERS/Fred Prouser
A part of the signage at the main gate of The Walt Disney Co. is pictured in Burbank, California, May 7, 2012. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

By Ronald Grover

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co expects to begin layoffs at its studio and consumer product divisions within the next two weeks, according to two people with knowledge of the matter, in the latest cost-reduction step to emerge from a company-wide review.

The studio job cuts will center on the marketing and home video units and include a small number from the animation wing, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans had not been made public.

It is unknown how many jobs will be lost at either division.

Staff reductions at the consumer products unit will largely result from attrition, another person said.

On Wednesday, Disney began layoffs at the 30-year-old LucasArts games studio it inherited with the acquisition of George Lucas' film company last year, as it focuses on licensing its "Star Wars" brand externally.

A Disney spokeswoman had no comment.

Disney, headquartered in Burbank, California, started an internal cost-cutting review late last year to identify cutbacks in jobs it no longer needs because of improvements in technology, one of the people said.

It is also looking at redundant operations that could be eliminated following a string of major acquisitions over the past few years, said the person.

Disney cut about 200 people at its Disney Interactive video game last year, as the company moved away from console games to focus on online and mobile entertainment. An additional 100 staffers have been laid off in two cuts since.

The company also made cuts at the publishing unit last year when Disney moved its operations to Burbank from New York as part of a restructuring of its consumer products unit.

(Reporting by Ronald Grover; Editing by Edwin Chan, Ryan Woo and Peter Cooney)

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