Investigations by the government and Jeff Bezos proved too much for The National Enquirer owner American Media, but not enough to deter a new owner.
James Cohen, part of the family that founded Hudson News Distributors, is buying the U.S. and U.K versions of the gossip magazine from David Pecker’s American Media LLC (recently renamed from American Media Inc.), which acquired the title 20 years ago. The $100 million deal also includes two other tabloids, Globe and National Examiner.
Pecker — whose friendship with President Donald Trump and the use of the Enquirer’s coverage to aid Trump’s candidacy and perhaps even his personal vendettas has come under intense scrutiny over the last year — wrote in a statement that the group of magazines actually pull in $30 million in profit annually.
“James and his team have a proven history in publishing and have the market-based knowledge and long-term vision needed to ensure the growth of these brands,” Pecker wrote.
Even with the tabloids’ purported profitability, American Media is in debt. The company said the sale will leave it with only $355 million in debts and that without the titles, what it spends on loan interest will be cut by $13 million a year “which will enhance the company’s free cash flow and Allow American Media to continue to deleverage.”
As for Cohen, who now owns and operates HND along with Hudson Logistics & Marketing Services, he identified The Enquirer alone as a money maker.
“Year after, the Enquirer has continued to be one of the best-selling and most profitable newsstand titles,” Cohen wrote. “But this brand is about more than a weekly publication, it’s about a brand with extraordinary potential across multiple platforms.”
Cohen added that he intends to “accelerate” the tabloid’s partnership with docu-channel Investigation discovery, part of Discovery Inc., and push forward with more weekly podcasts and expand the Enquirer’s budding theme park business. Yes, there are Enquirer-themed “family attractions” in Tennessee and Missouri. The transaction is expected to close “as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos, as has been widely reported, is expected to meet with federal prosecutors in New York regarding his February claims the Enquirer and American Media attempted “extortion and blackmail” over the publication of personal text messages with his girlfriend. Bezos’ personal investigator recently told The Daily Beast that he believed the government of Saudi Arabia hacked Bezos’ phone, obtaining the private information that somehow ended up at the Enquirer. American Media also entered into an agreement last year protecting it from prosecution in exchange for participating in an ongoing investigation into $275,000 that AMI paid to women with lascivious accusations involving Donald Trump.
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