Friday, 19 April, 2019

American Media looking to sell tabloid National Enquirer

Jeff Bezos Enlarge Image Jeff Bezos Getty Images
Priscilla Morrison | 13 April, 2019, 09:45

Former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal signed a $150,000 deal with AMI in August 2016, giving the publisher the exclusive rights to her first-hand account of an alleged 10-month affair with Trump in 2006. The parent company of the National Enquirer said Wednesday, April 10, 2019, that it is exploring a possible sale as part of a "strategic review" of its tabloid business.

And in February, the tabloid came under fire for allegedly trying to extort and blackmail Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who is also the owner of The Washington Post, if he did not publicly acknowledge that AMI's coverage was not politically motivated. The meeting signals that the USA attorney's office is escalating its inquiry connected to Bezos's suggestion that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia was behind a National Enquirer story that exposed his extramarital affair and his claim that the tabloid attempted to extort him.

Eventually, prosecutors signed a non-prosecution agreement with AMI during the Cohen probe and the company committed that it would provide cooperation in the future and stay out of trouble.

(National Enquirer via AP) This image shows the front page of the January 28, 2019, edition of the National Enquirer featuring a story about Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos' divorce.

Trump and his lawyers have argued the payments were a personal matter unrelated to the election.

An American Media attorney denied that the tabloid committed blackmail, but the attack from Bezos threatened potentially big legal costs and at a bad time for American Media.

More news: Chelsea and Liverpool condemn racist Salah chants

With readership down, AMI tried to refinance more than $400 million in debt earlier this year.

In addition to the National Enquirer, American Media said it was also considering selling two other brands, Globe and National Examiner.

After the sale, Pecker will continue to help manage The Enquirer through American Media Inc., which will remain under his leadership, the people said.

American Media owns news, celebrity and sports publications such as Us Weekly, Star, OK!, In Touch, Life & Style, Men's Journal, Muscle & Fitness, Snowboarder and Surfer.

American Media is controlled by its biggest investor, a hedge fund called Chatham Asset Management.

Schwartz didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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