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Lions Gate cuts 80 jobs following Summit acquisition

March 9, 2012 | 12:59 pm

Twilight Summit Entertainment Lions Gate

Santa Monica-based Lions Gate Entertainment is laying off about 80 people in the wake of its acquisition of Summit Entertainment, said a person familiar with the matter.

In a move to bolster its film and TV library and better compete with larger studios, Lions Gate agreed in January to acquire Santa Monica-based Summit Entertainment, producer of the hit young adult  "Twilight" franchise, for $412.5 million in cash and stock.

Layoffs at both companies were anticipated as they merged their motion picture and home entertainment operations. Most of the layoffs Friday were in those departments.

The cuts total about 12% of a combined workforce of 675 people, said the person, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on the layoffs. Some jobs will also be eliminated through attrition, reducing the total workforce to about 575.

Prior to the acquisition, Lions Gate had about 500 employees and Summit had 175, and it was not clear how many layoffs came from each. 

Among the casualties was Summit Entertainment's longtime head of home entertainment, Steve Nickerson, who was laid off last month as part of a shift in the executive ranks of the combined companies motion picture group, which is headed by Summit's former chairman, Rob Friedman, and Patrick Wachsberger. 

The number of layoffs was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.


Summit layoffs as Lions Gate merger continues

Lions Gate acquires Summit Entertainment for $412.5 million

Lionsgate's Shearmur expected to leave as Summit's Feig steps in

-- Richard Verrier and Ben Fritz

Photo: Taylor Lautner, left, Kristin Stewart and Robert Pattinson in Summit Entertainment's "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse." Credit: Kimberley French / Summit Entertainment