Disney managers told to identify layoff candidates, with 4K job cuts expected by April: report

Disney managers were given an April deadline to propose budget cuts and make a list of employees to be laid off as CEO Bob Iger seeks to save billions of dollars by restructuring and cutting content from Disney+, ESPN, and Hulu

After announcing a plan to slash nearly 7,000 jobs, Disney is reportedly instructing managers to propose budget cuts and put together lists of employees to be laid off in the coming weeks.

It is unclear whether Disney will begin layoffs in small waves or cut thousands of employees all at once, but the company will announce at least 4,000 current employees will be out of work sometime in April, according to Business Insider

The payroll cuts were announced by CEO Bob Iger during the company's first-quarter earnings call in February, as Disney looks to save billions of dollars by restructuring the company, cutting content, and trimming payroll. 

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Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

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A screen shows the logo and a ticker symbol for The Walt Disney Company on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, Dec. 14, 2017.  (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid / Reuters Photos)

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Disney CEO Robert Iger poses during the 2020 Oscars Nominees Luncheon at the Dolby theatre in Hollywood on Jan. 27, 2020.  (ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

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According to Disney Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy, the overhaul is expected to save $5.5 billion, cutting $1.5 billion in operation costs and another $3 billion from reductions in non-sports content. 

The entertainment giant also said it would pull back on general entertainment aimed at adults, and is evaluating options for what to do with Hulu, the streaming service that specializes in general-entertainment shows and is two-thirds owned by Disney, one-third owned by Comcast Corp.

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Under the terms of Disney's 2019 purchase of its share of Hulu, either party has the right to force a sale of the company starting at the beginning of next year.

The planned job cuts were announced ahead of Disney's annual meeting on April 3. On Thursday, activist shareholder the National legal and Policy Center called for investors to oppose the entire slate of nominees for the board of directors at the meeting, arguing they are "carryovers that presided over the entertainment giant’s worst year since the 1970s." 

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The group accused the company of losing money by damaging its brand "with the pursuit of a far-left political agenda," saying that the company needs to abandon "wokeness" to recover its reputation as a family-friendly company. They pointed to Disney's opposition to Florida's Parental Rights in Education law, misleadingly labeled the "Don't say gay' bill by detractors, and pushback from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as evidence of bad decisions to be involved in politics harming the company.

FOX Business' Robbie Whelan contributed to this report.