William Reed mulls wine titles merger

William Reed Business Media has acquired wine weekly Harpers from Nexus Media and is considering merging the title with its own monthly title, Wine and Spirit.

At 130 years old, Harpers Wine and Spirit Weekly is the oldest paid-for weekly for the UK wine and spirit trade.

Andrew Reed, managing director of the William Reed drinks division, said the publisher had considered buying Harpers for some time, and said merging it with Wine and Spirit was a possibility.

‘It has been a long term ambition of ours to own Harpers,” he said. “We would look now to see what the industry want us to do with it – that [merging] would be an option.”

All editorial and advertising staff will be relocating from Nexus’s headquarters in Swanley, Kent to William Reed’s in Crawley, West Sussex.

Reed would not confirm if any staff would be made redundant, but said the publisher was ‘reviewing how they operate in future, bearing in mind that Wine and Spirit have some overlap”.

Press Gazette understands that at least three staff have been told that their positions will no longer exist at William Reed, but there are a number of vacant positions on similar titles that they have been invited to apply for.

Reed said: ‘[The future] clearly lies in enhancing Harpers’ reputation as the information source as the industry.

“With our other titles such as Wine and Spirit, Off-Licence News, Morning Advertiser, The Grocer and Restaurant magazine there’s an awful lot we can bring to the party to enhance that already very high reputation and regard that Harpers is held in.”

Harpers was traditionally a wine magazine, but rebranded as Harpers Wine & Spirit to widen its target audience.

Its website, TalkingDrinks.com, was launched in May 2007, and offers news, forums, podcasts and Talking Drinks TV.

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