Cox Media Group reportedly plans to lay off about 87 people at its Dunwoody and Sandy Springs campuses in the Atlanta area, according to a story in Reporter Newspapers.
CMG has thousands of employees so the layoffs are relatively modest. Still, CMG on Aug. 29 filed a notice about the cutbacks with the Georgia Department of Labor, as reported by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. The filing says the company is “transitioning its facilities” at 223 Perimeter Center Parkway in Dunwoody and at 6205 Peachtree-Dunwoody Road in Sandy Springs, where its corporate headquarters are located.
A CMG spokesperson wasn't immediately available to comment on the reported layoffs.
While it’s unclear whether the layoffs would affect the company’s radio division, a source inside Cox told Reporter Newspapers corporate management jobs are being eliminated as part of parent Cox Enterprises sale of its TV and radio stations to an investor group led by Apollo Global Management.
After cutting a $3.1 billion deal in February to buy the 14 Cox TV stations, Apollo in June agreed to pay $500 million for a majority stake in the Cox radio group, the television rep firm CoxReps and the Gamut national advertising businesses. The investment firm intends to use these and assets coming from a deal announced earlier with Northwest Broadcasting Group to form the backbone of a new broadcasting company.
Apollo is retaining the Cox Media Group name and plans to use some of the same offices.
The inside source told Reporter Newspapers the layoffs were not a surprise and that they are “not expected to impact the [Atlanta Journal Constitution] newsroom.” But long-term plans for the AJC’s newsroom, which moved from downtown Atlanta to Dunwoody, are reportedly up in the air. A plan to move AJC back to Atlanta and merge its newsroom with WSB-TV and news/talk WSB/WSBB-FM (750, 98.5) was scuttled when Cox announced plans to sell its broadcasting properties but hold on to the newspaper.
In the meantime, employees with CMG’s future owners are said to be moving into the Dunwoody site and the company is making improvements to the building.
As earlier reported by Inside Radio, CMG President Kim Guthrie will remain with the company and take on the CEO title, and Bill Hendrich is staying put as Executive VP of Radio after the transaction is completed.
In addition to the two Cox deals, Apollo wants to bulk up further. Last month, reports surfaced that it approached broadcasting company Tegna to buy its 47 television outlets in 39 markets. Apollo would reportedly consider other options, such as merging its stations with Tegna or selling them to the company.
The Dept. of Justice has approved Apollo’s purchase of the radio group. In order to comply with FCC ownership limits, two stations—alternative “97X” WSUN in Tampa and CHR “Power 95.3” WPYO in Orlando—will be placed in the Elliot Evers-run CXR Stations Trust for sale.