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Breaking: Disney Interactive lays off 700 employees

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The Walt Disney Co. said Thursday it will lay off 700 employees at its gaming division Disney Interactive -- which represents 26 percent of the unit's global staff.

"As a result of this restructuring, we have undergone a reduction in workforce," Disney said in a statement. "These actions were difficult but necessary given our long-term strategy focused on sustainable profitability and innovation." 

Disney Interactive said it has consolidated its business to focus on "a streamlined suite of high quality digital products." 

James A. Pitaro, the president of Disney Interactive, told the New York Times that the unit is not exiting any businesses. 

"...we will pursue licensing partnerships in which we retain a lot of creative input,” Mr. Pitaro said. “But this is a doubling down on mobile and an effort to focus much more intently on a core set of priorities.”

The cutbacks come at a moment when Disney Interactive appears to be turning itself around. After years of losing money, the unit made a profit in the last two quarters. 

Disney spokeswoman Carrie Davis said the company doesn't break out the number of employees affected in Southern California, but she said the cuts are happening today in 22 regions across the world.   They include closing offices in Chicago, San Francisco, Colorado, New Jersey, South Korea, and India.