Reed Business Information is on the verge of selling 10 business magazines to Cumulus Business Media, a subsidiary of Highbury House Communications.
The move is understood to have sparked outrage among RBI staff, who were told the news on Tuesday. Insiders said the main concern was the move from their current offices in Sutton to Crawley.
The magazines involved in the sale are Independent Retail News, Checkout, Checkout Fresh, What to Buy for Business, Motor Trader, Electrical Review, Electrical Times, Television, Electronics World and Motorship.
A Reed spokesman said: "We are going to focus our investment and resources on market sectors which are central to the development of our print and online services."
Reed’s international focus will include the aerospace, banking, chemicals and science sectors. Its UK focus will include agriculture, catering, commercial property, construction, human resources, personal and professional care, recruitment, technology, transport, travel and utilities.
Staff, who are in a 30-day consultation process, were sent an e-mail and called to a meeting on Tuesday. But due to the short notice, fewer than half the staff from the retail titles were able to attend. Richard Siddle, editor of Independent Retail News, was on holiday in St Lucia.
"With specialist titles like these it is the staff who make the magazines what they are," said one source.
One insider said another concern was the manner in which the sale was being handled, as only two weeks ago management denied the magazines would be sold.
Patric Cunnane, NUJ FoC at Reed, said feedback so far from staff had been negative.
"We are advising members not to agree to anything. But we are saying they should meet their prospective employers without prejudice," he said. "This really demonstrates how vulnerable people are. You can be sitting at your desk getting on with your job one minute and talks are going on to which you have no contribution."
By Ruth Addicott
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