Layoffs, Uncertainty Loom at WebMD
At least 150 staffers at the healthcare media giant appear to be the latest victims of the "pivot to video."
A new era has begun at WebMD, and with it panic as staffers wonder whether their days are numbered at the world’s leading healthcare site.
About 10 percent of WebMD’s approximately 1,700 employees have been laid off this month following the completion of the company’s $2.8 billion acquisition by investment firm KKR and its subsidiary Internet Brands, Inc.
It remains unclear exactly which areas of the company, if not all, were affected, but it’s said that multiple locations — including Atlanta and Portland, Oregon in addition to WebMD’s Manhattan headquarters — have seen a reduction in headcount.
The cuts echo a similar round of substantial year-end layoffs that occurred at WebMD in 2012.
Following the takeover, WebMD will be organized under KKR-owned Internet Brands, which produces a diverse suite of digital brands from CarsDirect.com and Fodors to Weddingbee.com and Model Mayhem.
“Internet Brands can confirm that there was a headcount reduction at WebMD earlier this month,” a company spokesman tells Folio:. “The restructuring came as WebMD continues the process of realigning resources to focus on growth initiatives in the private company setting.”
One source within the company, who spoke on condition of anonymity, adds that a large number of the employees were let go without warning on Wednesday, Nov. 8th, but that given the pending acquisition and WebMD’s history of year-end cuts, rumors of layoffs have persisted for months.
In an interview just weeks ago with PR Week, WebMD’s VP of editorial development, Stephanie Snipes, identified video as central to the company’s content strategy moving forward.
Asked by PR Week‘s Sean Czarnecki if the “pivot to video” entailed layoffs, Snipes answered, “WebMD will maintain a broad editorial team, which will continue to include in-house board-certified physician editors, medical journalists, experts, and contributors to create trusted original health content.”
This is a developing story.