Warner Bros. Discovery to Sell Knoxville Office Building (EXCLUSIVE)
The changes continue to come at Warner Bros. Discovery. Variety has learned exclusively that the newly merged company is planning to sell off its office complex in Knoxville, Tenn.
The announcement came from WBD CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels in a memo to the company’s staff obtained by Variety. It reads in part the company’s real estate holdings are under review as the dust settles from the recent merger. Approximately 1,000 employees are based in Knoxville.
“The employee population in Knoxville is much smaller than the current space accommodates and with the addition of hybrid working options, we can reap the benefits of selling a building which we do not fully utilize,” Wiedenfels wrote.
“We plan to relocate our Knoxville operations and employees to a new leased office space, with an anticipated move date of June 2023,” he continued. “We expect that there will be a variety of working arrangements as a result of this change – some roles may be hybrid, and some may be fully remote.”
Wiedenfels closed by saying that there will be no changes to “daycare, wellness, and cafe facilities” at the Knoxville office during the transition.
The Knoxville office became part of the Discovery portfolio following Discovery’s 2018 acquisition of its Scripps Networks Interactive, which brought Food Network, HGTV, Cooking Channel and more into the Discovery fold. Discovery was originally headquartered in Maryland, where it still maintains a small physical presence in Silver Springs, before moving its base of operations to New York.
The move to sell the office space comes as WBD CEO David Zaslav has promised shareholders that he will find $3 billion in savings now that the merger is complete. Most recently, it was announced that HBO Max would cease production on scripted originals in the Nordics (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland), Central Europe, the Netherlands and Turkey.
As we continue to shape our new company and establish a strong foundation for success, one of the areas we are reviewing is our real estate footprint.
Following a detailed evaluation, we have made the decision to sell our office building in Knoxville. The employee population in Knoxville is much smaller than the current space accommodates and with the addition of hybrid working options, we can reap the benefits of selling a building which we do not fully utilize.
We plan to relocate our Knoxville operations and employees to a new leased office space, with an anticipated move date of June 2023. We expect that there will be a variety of working arrangements as a result of this change – some roles may be hybrid, and some may be fully remote.
As part of our commitment to be open and transparent, we are communicating with you early – the building is not yet up for sale – and many details still need to be worked through. We do not know the location of the new office but will share more information when these decisions are made. During this period, there will be no changes to the daycare, wellness, and cafe facilities at the current Knoxville site; we’ll share more about services in the new space once we have confirmed the location.
I understand that there is a lot of change at the moment, and I appreciate your ongoing hard work and commitment. We will continue to keep you updated as we progress, and if you have any questions, please contact our manager.
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