AMC Networks offers buyouts to 200 staffers

With its investors worried about its long-term future as a standalone media company and its stock price in free fall, AMC Networks has offered voluntary buyouts to 200 veteran employees, Deadline Hollywood reports. 

AMC reps didn't immediately respond to FierceCable's inquiry for comment. But Deadline said the conglomerate confirmed the buyouts, which would impact employees who have been with the company at least 10 years.

AMC is reportedly trying to shed 6 percent of its work force.

AMC's stock price has cratered 33 percent in the last year. Ratings for its biggest programming drivers, the AMC shows The Walking Dead and Better Call Saul, ebbed last season.

New series including Preacher and Feed the Beast, meanwhile, have not been able to pick up the slack. 

"We do not see any near-term catalysts to resolve these concerns, and, in fact, would expect further declines in The Walking Dead ratings this fall to exacerbate the issue," UBS Securities analyst Doug Mitchelson said in a Friday report where he downgraded AMC shares to "sell."

Mitchelson pondered the possibility that AMC Networks not appearing in Hulu's live-streamed bundle when it debuts next year. That specter, he said, "meaningfully increases uncertainty."

One of the few not-so-vertically-integrated channel conglomerates, AMC Networks finds itself exposed to the whims of program ratings. It is currently subject to takeover rumors from the likes of John Malone. 

AMC Networks reported $706.6 million in revenue for its fiscal first quarter, beating investor forecasts. 

For more:
- read this Deadline Hollywood story

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