Media industry moves
* isoffering voluntary buyoutsto its U.S. employees as part of its cost-savings plan, according to a Form 8-Kfiled May 4. The cost-savings plan, which the company expects to implement completelyby the end of the third quarter, will include personnel adjustments, restructuringsand budget reallocations. The company expects to incur $40 million to $60 millionin expenses for severance pay and other costs relating to personnel adjustments.The company is also planning additional actions to reduce its non-personnel costs.The cost-cutting initiatives will help the company invest in "four key areas:more loved content; sports and other valuable IP; digital services and OTT products;and international growth markets," Discovery President and CEO David Zaslavsaid in an internal memo to employees.
* JeffWeiser and Matthew Jagoda joinedShutterstock Inc. as chiefmarketing officer and chief people officer, respectively, the company said May 4.In his new role, Weiser will oversee the global marketing organization that is responsiblefor building customer demand, identifying new revenue opportunities and increasingbrand awareness. Jagoda, meanwhile, will take oversight of hiring, developing andretaining a global team. Weiser was previously at Beachbody LLC, while Jagoda usedto work as head of human resources at Gerson Lehrman Group.
* Italy-based Internet of Things platformSolair for an undisclosedsum. Solair's IoT platform provides services to industries such as manufacturing,retail, food and beverage and transportation. The company was founded by CEO TomDavis in 2011. Solair's technology will be integrated into the Microsoft Azure IoTsuite and its team will join the Azure IoT team, Sam George, Azure IoT partner director,wrote in a May 3 blog post.
* unit Vimeo VHX, a platform for premiumover-the-top subscription video channels, for an undisclosed sum. The deal helpsVimeo provide a complete streaming ecosystem for individual creators, niche programmersand major media partners to offer subscription video-on-demand channels, the companysaid May 2. VHX Co-Founder and CEO Jamie Wilkinson will now report to Vimeo CEOKerry Trainor.
* Steve Bunnell senior vice presidentand chief content and programming officer of the company. Bunnell previously servedUniversal Theatrical Distribution as executive vice president and general salesmanager, the company said April 29.
* unit tapped former Motorola President Rick Osterloh to lead itsnew hardware division, Re/code reported April 28, citing a company representative.The new division will oversee the company's hardware projects, including hardwaredevelopment on Google's Nexus flagship Android phone and its OEM partnerships, TVstreaming stick Chromecast, Chromebook laptops, the new Pixel C device, wirelesshome router OnHub, Advanced Technology and Projects group, which includes modularphone, Project Ara and others, and Glass.
* agreed to DVR company TiVo Inc. via a cash-and-stock transaction worth about $1.1 billion. The combinedcompany will include directors from the TiVo board and will be led by Rovi CEO TomCarson.
* MichaelRegan is stepping downas 21st Century Fox Inc.'sexecutive vice president of global public policy. The company expects to name asuccessor soon, according to an April 27 news release. Regan will remain as a companyadviser to help with a leadership transition.
* MikeRandolfi was appointedthe new CFO of Groupon Inc.Randolfi succeeds Brian Kayman, who was named Groupon's interim CFO after the departureof Jason Child in July 2015, according to an April 28 news release. Prior to joiningGroupon, Randolfi served as CFO at Orbitz Worldwide Inc.
* Jackiede Crinis, the head of programming at ComcastCorp.'s USA Network(US), joinedUniversal Cable Productions, Multichannel News reported April 27. De Crinis signeda production deal with the NBCUniversalMedia LLC unit, whereby she will be responsible for developing and producingoriginal projects for the studio. She will start by working on "Eyewitness,"which is based on a Norwegian crime drama of the same name. During her tenure asexecutive vice president of original programming for USA Network, she developedshows like "Mr. Robot," "Suits," "Psych" and "Monk."
* DarrenHuston resigned as CEOof Priceline Group Inc.over "a personal relationship" he had with a Priceline employee who wasnot under his direct supervision. He stepped down after an investigation overseenby independent board members determined that Huston had "engaged in activitiesinconsistent with the board's expectations for executive conduct," the companysaid April 28. Huston has acknowledged the misconduct and expressed regret. PricelineGroup appointed former CEO and current Chairman Jeffery Boyd as interim chief executiveand president of the company, while an independent committee of the board led byJames Guyette, lead independent director, will work to find a permanent replacement.Priceline also tapped current Booking.com President and COO Gillian Tans to replaceHuston as the business unit's chief executive.
Communications industry moves
* thousands of additional personnelto help with the company's operations amid an ongoing strike by Verizon employees,the company said April 29. The employees on special assignment and contractors arecurrently enrolled or have recently graduated from the company's technical trainingclasses in Virginia. The employees are taking over roles in the field and the company'scustomer service centers. The news comes as the unions representing the strikingemployees have rejected Verizon's "last, best and final offer," whichincluded a wage increase of 7.5% over the term of the contract, among other benefits.