Sinclair to lay off hundreds of employees, citing ‘profound impact’ pandemic has had on its business


“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be felt in all sectors of the economy, something that can have a profound impact on a company as diversified as ours,” a Sinclair spokesperson told CNN Business in a statement. “From local businesses and advertisers to distributors and partners, no component of our business ecosystem has been fully protected from the impact of the global pandemic.”

“In response to this, we are currently experiencing company-wide reductions in our workforce, including corporate headquarters, to ensure we are well positioned for future success,” added the Sinclair spokesperson.

Sinclair’s spokesperson told CNN Business that the company employs 9,211 employees. A 5% reduction would mean that some 460 people would lose their jobs.

The employees were notified of the layoffs in a memorandum late Wednesday from Chris Ripley, the company’s president and CEO.

“This decision was not made lightly,” wrote Ripley. “Over the last year, we have seen many of our peers make mass cuts, a step we refrained from taking while taking cuts elsewhere, including capital budgets, discretionary spending, and nonessential spending.”

Ripley said those “proactive steps” mean that the “downsizing will be significantly less” than if the company had not taken such steps. He also said that “the affected personnel will receive compensation and all will be offered outplacement services.”

However, Ripley added: “This is undoubtedly one of the most difficult messages of my career.”

“But despite the challenge, I remain immensely proud of the intellect, ingenuity and collective will of our team,” wrote Ripley. “They have proven to be the best team in the business. And it is this spirit, in each of us and collectively, that I know will help us.”

Sinclair (SBGI), which operates 186 television stations in 87 markets in the United States, reported in February a 7% drop in total revenue for the fourth quarter of 2020, compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.

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