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Monday, February 20, 2006

80 jobs may go as embattled Atari slashes costs

US-based publisher confirms plans to cut 20 per cent of workforce
Publisher Atari Inc has announced that it is set to cut its staff levels by 20 per cent in an attempt to control costs and meet its obligations to its creditors, in a move which could see up to 80 jobs being lost worldwide.
Described as "decisive action" by Atari CEO Bruno Bonnell, the layoffs will come in the wake of a number of weak quarterly financials, which led eventually to an announcement by the firm earlier this month that its credit line from HSBC had been cut off due to failure to meet certain financial obligations to the bank.
The publisher warned that it may be unable to continue as a going concern at that point, but suggested a number of remedies to the situation - among them the possibility of controlling costs by cutting jobs or selling development studios.
Now Atari has confirmed that it will be cutting 20 per cent of it workforce, which currently numbers around 400 worldwide - of whom roughly 250 are in the United States - but no information has been released about when the cuts will happen, or whether specific parts of the firm will be targeted.
As to the development studios, Atari is undoubtedly considering its options, but no official decision has been forthcoming regarding their fate. The publisher has already removed three studios from its books in the past twelve months, closing facilities in California (Santa Monica) and Massachusetts (Beverly) in early 2005, and selling off its majority share in Humongous Software to parent company Infogrames last Autumn.
Speaking about the planned job cuts, CEO Bruno Bonnell was upbeat, saying that: "Today's decisive action will provide us with the flexibility necessary in a changing business environment."
"Adjusting our cost structure is a significant first step," he continued, "and demonstrates our commitment to restoring shareholder value."

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