Rogers slashes 900 jobs

The losses focus on management, as the cable giant girds to compete with Bell and Telus.

Rogers Communications is to cut another 900 jobs nationwide to streamline its management and better compete against rivals Bell Canada and Telus Corp.

‘We believe these changes will enhance the customer experience, make us more nimble and efficient, further drive innovation and deliver long-term growth,’ Rogers spokeswoman Carly Suppa said Thursday about the latest cuts, which account for around 3% of the company’s 30,000-strong workforce.

Suppa said the layoffs were part of an ongoing reorganization that in September included merging Rogers’ cable and wireless businesses and eliminating around 20% of the vice presidents in Rogers’ cable, wireless and corporate groups.

Rogers remains profitable, but is encountering increased headwinds, including the end of its iPhone monopoly when rivals Bell Canada and Telus recently started to market the Apple smartphones to their own customers.

Rogers used revenue from lucrative iPhone sales and usage plans to offset recent falls in radio and TV advertising revenue.

In addition, Rogers and Shaw Communications have revived their own cable rivalry after the western giant acquired Hamilton-based Mountain Cablevision in Rogers’ backyard.

Rogers is also continuing to diversify from its traditional cable TV business with moves that include acquiring a minority stake in Michael Eisner’s new media studio, Vuguru, and launching the ad-supported video portal Rogers On Demand Online on Nov. 30.

‘Our industry is changing rapidly. For instance, technologies are converging, and customer expectations are changing,’ Suppa said, commenting on current streamlining moves at the group.

There was more change signalled by Rogers Thursday, as the media group said it will spend $163 million to purchase 3.2 million shares of Cogeco Cable and 1.6 million shares of Cogeco.

Rogers added it had ‘no current intention of acquiring ownership of or control’ of rival Cogeco.

The stock purchases come on top of Rogers filing of a preliminary prospectus last week to raise as much as $4 billion in new debt financing in Canada and the US market.

Rogers made cuts across its divisions in late 2008 and further layoffs to its publishing staff in April.

From Playback Daily