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Disney Cutting Animation Jobs

About 20% of workers in the film business will be laid off.
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will cut about 20% of the workforce at its animation film business, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The media company confirmed in a statement that it will be reducing its animation workforce, though it didn't specify the exact number.

"We are committed to do every thing we can in order to assist everyone during this transition period," said Disney in the statement. "Once notified, employees will have up to 60 days to find new employment. Disney will also help provide job placement opportunities."

Animation Guild Business Representative Steve Hulett said he expects the company will inform employees of the cutbacks in mid-December, and they will start to leave the company in February or March.

"This is not unexpected," says Alan Gould, analyst with Natexis Bleichroeder. "We knew this would happen when Disney formed its partnership with Pixar."

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After a slump at its animated films unit, Disney swallowed up Pixar, the red-hot animation company headed by


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CEO Steve Jobs, earlier this year. It also signaled that it would downsize its film business.

The company said in July it would cut 650 jobs at its film studios.

"The recent technology changes in the industry are such that they just don't need all the people for the production of these films that they used to need," says Harold Vogel, analyst with Vogel Capital Management.

Shares of Disney closed up 4 cents, or 0.1%, to $33.09 Friday.