Turner Broadcasting offers voluntary buyouts, says there will be additional staff reductions

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Turner Broadcasting on Tuesday announced a voluntary buyout program for about 6% of its U.S.-based employees, which includes CNN, TNT and TBS, and said reductions in staffing will follow.

The buyout offers are taking place as part of a far-reaching effort to increase profitability across Turner's portfolio of cable channels. The effort is expected to eventually involve layoffs and other cost-cutting measures, as well.

"Given the current focus on reducing costs and prioritizing investments to maximize company performance, Turner will also undertake additional reductions in staffing," an internal memo said on Tuesday morning.

But the buyouts come first. They will be offered to Turner staffers age 55 and older who have been with the company for 10 years or more. Those who volunteer will receive nine weeks of salary, in addition to four weeks of salary for each year of employment.

Almost 600 of Turner's 9,000 employees in the United States are eligible. The company has not conducted large-scale buyouts before, according to a spokesman.

CNNMoney is a unit of Turner's CNN, and I'm an employee of CNN. Turner's other channels include TNT, TBS, truTV, HLN, Turner Classic Movies, and Cartoon Network.

Turner is one of the three main divisions of Time Warner, which is under pressure to impress shareholders and present a long-term plan for growth.

The pressure intensified after Time Warner rebuffed a takeover bid by 21st Century Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch earlier this summer. Fox had offered $85 a share; Time Warner's stock traded recently at $77, up from $70 before the bid.