A BUSY WEEK FOR WEDDINGCHANNEL

Byline: Valerie Seckler

NEW YORK — WeddingChannel.com has hooked up with a second partner this week: The bridal registry has just acquired WeddingBells U.S. magazine, in an all-equity deal that reflects the pure-play’s effort to further extend its services into offline channels.
“National publications and Internet plays can’t serve our users as well as a localized print vehicle in providing certain content,” said Adam Berger, WeddingChannel’s president and chief executive officer, when asked of the rationale behind the deal. “We know a big percentage of the wedding business is local — the dress shops, florists, caterers, musicians,” he added. “We want to be a fully-integrated presence with our local partners.”
Regional editions of WeddingBells U.S. are published in Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, New York, San Francisco, South Florida and Southern California, and the bridal title will maintain offices in each of its markets. The magazine and Web site at WeddingBells.com will be run as an independent subsidiary, and will retain existing management, Berger said. Besides being sold on newsstands, WeddingBells U.S. is available at various WeddingChannel partners, such as Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and The Bon Marche.
Toronto-based Key Media Ltd. will maintain its ownership of WeddingBells Canada as well as having become an investor in WeddingChannel, whose backers also include Amazon.com, Federated Department Stores, Goldman Sachs, The Neiman Marcus Group, Tiffany & Co. and WWD parent Advance Publications. WeddingBells was launched in Canada more than 20 years ago and entered the U.S. in March 1996 with WeddingBells.com. It expanded its presence here in January 1999, with a magazine targeting major metropolitan areas.
Los Angeles-based WeddingChannel on Monday announced it acquired another offline venture, the Independent Visions Couture Exposition, a biannual bridal show whose current edition kicks off Saturday in Manhattan’s Metropolitan Pavilion.