Electronic Arts dismisses rumors of layoffs

SAN FRANCISCO Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:26pm EDT

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Game publisher Electronic Arts Inc (EA.O) moved on Monday to squash rumors it will lay off between 500 and 1,000 employees in an attempt to cut costs and trim its headcount.

John Reseburg, a company spokesman, acknowledged that E.A. is "reshuffling" its 9,000-strong worldwide work force, but dismissed Internet reports of the layoffs. "I don't think there is a factual basis for the reports," Reseburg said. He added the company is expecting its headcount to be higher at the end of 2012 compared with last year.

"We're growing and we're looking to hire hundreds of people for our digital, console, mobile and social games," Reseburg said. "Like all game companies, we make occasional adjustments to resize our teams as projects are completed and new priorities are established. We expect that our headcount will be up at the end of the year."

Citing multiple unnamed sources, the website StartupGrind reported on Sunday that the Redwood City, California-based game publisher will lay off 500 to 1,000 employees as early as this week as it struggles with poor reception for 'Star Wars: The Old Republic,' a major online title released in December.

Reseburg declined to confirm the specific number of people who will leave the company as it reshuffles.

The embattled game publisher's stock has shed close to 40 percent of its value since November. E.A. shares were down 5 percent at $15.30 in midday trading on Monday.

(The has been corrected to change the headline from denies to dismisses, change the name of spokesman to Reseburg not Reseling and add clarifying quote in paragraph 2, change word restructuring to reshuffling in penultimate paragraph.)

(Reporting By Gerry Shih; editing by Andre Grenon and Carole Bishopric)