Major Layoffs Planned At VU Games

N.A. staff to be reduced by 350.

Vivendi Universal Games, publisher of such titles as "Crash Bandicoot" and "Warcraft," plans to cut 350 of its 900 North America-based employees.

The move marks another another step in VU Games' plan to improve its operating effectiveness, reduce costs and position itself for growth.

"Restructuring the organization and reducing our cost base are necessary to improve our operating effectiveness and profitability," says CEO Bruce Hack in a statement.

The company says 110 of the layoffs will come from the Sierra Entertainment unit in Bellevue, Wash., while 50 are attributed to the previously announced closing of two studios in Boston. The remaining job losses will come from Los Angeles.

Employees affected by the layoffs are expected to leave the company within the next couple of months and will be offered severance packages and outplacement services, a spokeswoman says.

After the layoffs, VU Games will employ 1,800 people worldwide.

In its recently reported first quarter, parent Vivendi Universal said VU Games doubled its operating loss to $55.2 million.