News Ltd plans job cuts

Australia's biggest newspaper publisher, Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd has announced plans to restructure and shed staff on the same day it launched a near $2 billion bid for Consolidated Media.

Chief executive Kim Williams, did not specify how many jobs would be lost to anxious staff in a video address on Wednesday.

He later said the number of redundancies would be "significantly less" than the 1,900 announced by Fairfax Media on Monday.

"Frankly, I think simply raising a number is reckless because it doesn't actually address the issue, which is the real issue for all people in any workforce; is it me or is it someone else?" he told Sky Business TV.

He detailed major changes to the company's editorial and sales operations.

Despite plunging circulation and dire forecasts for the future of newspapers, Mr Williams outlined an upbeat vision for the company's mastheads, such as The Australian, The Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph.

"Print is not dead and has a strong future in which we, for one, have confidence as we build all our future consumer platforms - print, online, tablet, mobile, broadcast and social," he said in an address to News Ltd staff.

"Regrettably we will have to make a variety of positions redundant."

Some roles would be retired through natural attrition, he said, and it was understood News Limited would take up to 18 months to implement the changes.

The job cuts are linked to a streamlining of its editorial and sales operations, with its divisions along Australia's east coast cut from 19 to five.

Its state-based sales teams had already been combined into an integrated team and its digital operations, News Digital Media, will be also incorporated into the five new divisions.

"This is the only way to drive the company forward and respond sensibly and properly to the rapid change evident in the landscape of media operation and use," he said.

Unlike what is seen as a sharp shrinking of Fairfax's operations, Mr Williams confirmed planned growth for News Ltd in Australia, including a $1.97 billion bid for James Packer's Consolidated Media.

If approved, it will allow News Ltd to dominate Australia's pay TV industry.

It has also bought Australian Independent Business Media (AIBM), which publishes the Business Spectator website and Eureka Report, for reportedly more than $20 million.

Media buyer Fusion Strategy's head Steve Allen was sceptical about Mr Williams' upbeat speech, saying News Ltd was far less transparent than Fairfax about its newspapers.

"The words were different from Fairfax but the outcomes will be somewhat the same, they are facing exactly the same problems," he told AAP, adding it was up to investors to decide.

"None of us can see what's happening in the newspaper division in News Ltd in Australia, it's not published but consolidated under their newspapers in America, the UK, Australia and God knows where else."

Fat Prophets analyst Greg Fraser said Mr Williams had been vague about hard numbers on jobs and printing, unlike Fairfax which also announced plans to close printing presses.

However fellow media buyer Harold Mitchell praised the company's takeover bids as a great vote of confidence in the Australian economy by a global organisation.

"The streamlining of the organisation makes it much easier to deal with the important advertiser dollar," he told AAP.

News Ltd shares closed up 11 cents at $20.15 while its non-voting listed stocks were 13 cents better at $19.90.

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