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Sony BMG Begins to Cut Work Force

Sony BMG Tuesday offered either early retirement or voluntary severance to all eligible employees at the newly formed music giant, warning that future layoffs may not be accompanied by such generous terms.

More than 2,000 jobs at Sony BMG’s worldwide operations are expected to be cut as the company looks to generate at least $350 million in savings following its Aug. 5 creation as a 50-50 joint venture between Sony Corp. and Bertelsmann AG.

Billboard magazine recently estimated the combined company had about 10,000 employees.

“We have designed these programs to offer you an opportunity to separate from Sony BMG with a favorable exit package that would not otherwise be available to you,” Sony BMG Music Entertainment chief operating officer Michael Smellie wrote in a staff memo Tuesday.

“Please note that the new company is continuing to evaluate its work force needs, and that the benefits provided to employees in connection with any possible future reductions in our work force may not be as favorable to employees as the benefits provided under these programs.”

A spokesman for Sony BMG declined comment.

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