Meredith Corp cuts pay for 60% of employees amid COVID-19

NEW YORK (Reuters) - People Magazine owner Meredith Corp, will temporarily cut pay for 60% of its employees and paused its dividend as advertising revenue takes a hit during the coronavirus outbreak, the company announced on Monday.

The Des Moines, Iowa-based company also rescinded its financial guidance for the year.

Meredith joins a number of large news media companies including Gannett Co Inc and McClatchy Co looking to slash costs through pay cuts, furloughs and layoffs as advertisers drastically cut spending.

The tiered pay cuts will last from May 4 to Sept. 4, and some employees will work under reduced hours. Meredith also said it would freeze hiring and significantly reduce freelancers. About 2,200 of Meredith’s employees will get a 15% pay cut, and the company’s highest-paid employees will face reductions ranging from 20% to 40%.

Meredith President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Harty said in statement that the declining advertising market created an “extremely challenging business environment.”

Meredith has also lobbied for stimulus relief money for its news stations in local markets.

Advertising makes up about half of Meredith’s revenue. Meredith owns a portfolio of lifestyle magazines that include Better Homes & Gardens, Shape and Southern Living. It also owns 17 television stations in top 25 markets including Portland and Atlanta.

The publishing company said in a news release that it is pausing stock dividends until the advertising market returns to normal.

Reporting by Arriana McLymore; editing by Jonathan Oatis