Viacom Slashing Staff By 7 Percent; Will Take Charge Of At Least $400 Million In Q4, Internal Memo

In another sign of the times, Viacom (NYSE: VIA) will cut roughly 850 jobs, approximately 7 percent of the company’s workforce across all divisions during yet another overhaul of the company’s structure. The company also will write down assets and programming. Viacom estimates that the combination of write downs and restructuring will result in Q408 pre-tax charge of $400-$450 million — and pre-tax savings of $200-$250 million in 2009. Senior-level management pay raises have been suspended for 2009 (no mention of bonuses).

Update: I’ve confirmed that the layoffs, which are being made now, not only cut across divisions but run at least as high as EVP — possibly higher — and are meant to be global and domestic. No official numbers by division but MTVN is likely to take the biggest hit. This isn’t a corporate restructuring and a spokesperson said “how it is playing out is being determined by each division.” Viacom has been working on the plans for at least a month, causing intense speculation. Those affected are being notified “right away” and will remain on the payroll at least through year’s end; severance will kick in after that.

(Pic courtesy: mag3737)

We have the full memo from CEO Philippe Dauman and CFO Tom Dooley, embedded after the jump

Dear Colleagues:

With less than a month until the close of 2008, our entire organization continues to do everything possible to anticipate and adapt to the unprecedented changes affecting all our businesses. We know it hasn