December 2, 2008 / 8:33 PM / 11 years ago

Financial Times offers buyouts, freezes salaries

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Financial Times is offering buyouts and freezing salaries as its advertisers and customers deal with the financial crisis, according to a memo from the daily business newspaper’s chief executive.

The pink-hued business daily, which is owned by Pearson Plc, is seeking an unknown number of buyouts, with expressions of interest due by December 19, according to the memo, which was sent on Tuesday and obtained by Reuters.

It also is freezing salaries for employees who earn more than $50,000 a year or the equivalent.

If conditions improve more quickly than expected, the company would review its decision on salaries, Chief Executive John Ridding wrote, adding that it would be at least in the second half of the year before the FT considered that.

“We continue to perform well against the competition, taking market share in advertising, readership and circulation,” Ridding wrote.

“But with our customers and advertisers being affected we need to prepare for difficult times. We need to act early and decisively to reduce costs so that we can sustain our investment and our success.”

The FT also is offering some employees the opportunity to work three- or four-day weeks.

The paper plans to “be rigorous in managing headcount” and will tighten recruitment, the memo said.

It will also limit travel and entertainment budgets for “essential revenue-generating or editorial trips and meetings.”

Ridding said the paper would “seek to limit the impact on jobs.” He did not say if there would be layoffs.

“(We) will need to continue to review the size and shape of our operations as we manage through this unprecedented economic environment,” he wrote.

Ridding was not immediately available to comment.

Other news outlets are taking similar steps as advertisers and clients cut budgets.

The Associated Press plans to cut jobs while Thomson Reuters Corp has said it will speed up integration measures outlined when Thomson bought Reuters earlier this year.

News Corp’s Dow Jones & Co, which owns The Wall Street Journal, has been reducing staff in various departments, and publishers from The New York Times Co to USA Today owner Gannett Co Inc have cut jobs this year.

Editing by Ted Kerr

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