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Blavatnik Sharpens WMG Ax

THE FIRST CUTS ARE THE DEEPEST: One week after closing the $3.3 billion deal to buy Warner Music Group and rejiggering the nine-member board with Access Industries colleagues, billionaire Len Blavatnik is looking to cut about 2-5% of the music company’s 3,800-person global workforce, according to a report in this morning’s N.Y. Post. The 54-year-old is eyeing savings of between $50 and $65 million in advance of an expected bid for rival EMI Music. If that acquisition is successful, then WMG may look to shed even more from its payroll. Most of the cuts will come from employees working outside the U.S. Blavatnik has reportedly hired a headhunter and is already sounding out potential new senior staff in a merged WMG-EMI. (7/26a)

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