Magazines move to Melbourne

Australia's leading motoring magazines are being driven to Melbourne.

Australia's leading motoring magazines are being driven to Melbourne.

Bauer Media chief executive Matthew Stanton on Tuesday informed staff of seven of the country's most-popular motoring titles they would be relocated from its Goulburn Street offices in Sydney's CBD to its Trader Group branch in Melbourne's eastern suburb of Oakleigh within the next two months.

One source indicated Bauer is packaging the high-profile motoring titles within Trader Group to boost its position ahead of a potential sale.

The move is headlined by the relocation of its flagship automotive publication Wheels, which has been based in Sydney since its inception 60 years ago.

It will be joined by performance car title Motor, modified car magazine Street Machine, off-road title 4x4 Australia, weekly motor racing newspaper Auto Action and motorcycle magazines Australian Motorcycle News and Australian Dirt Bike.

Germany's Bauer last year acquired Australia's largest magazine publisher, ACP, from Nine Entertainment.

It has already set about overhauling the magazine portfolio which includes popular titles such as The Australian Women's Weekly.

The move will also see the titles being managed directly by Bauer Trader Group, which produces classified-based publications such as Unique Cars, Trade-a-Boat and Motorcycle Trader.

The only motoring title that will remain directly under the Bauer Media umbrella - and will not relocate to Melbourne - is Top Gear Australia, which is a joint venture operation between Bauer and the BBC.

Fairfax Media understands that all staff - believed to upwards of 35 - have been offered the opportunity to relocate to Melbourne or take a severance package. Affected staff have been given a week to decide which option to take.

However, the move is likely to result in significant attrition rates with most staff members entrenched in Sydney with family.

It is understood that Bauer has no present plans to close any of the seven titles and the move is designed to reduce the costly overheads of inner-city office space.

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