The National Enquirer is up for sale, parent American Media Inc. announced in a statement Thursday, alongside its other tabloids, including the Globe and National Examiner brands.
Megan Henney of Fox Business had the story:
The tabloid has been embroiled in a number of scandals surrounding Trump. AMI allegedly paid a Playboy model Karen McDougal $150,000 during the 2016 presidential election to buy the exclusive rights to her claims that she had an affair with Trump, and then never published the story, according to Fox News.
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.
Bezos is reportedly sitting down with federal prosecutors in New York in connection with his claims that the Enquirer tried to extort him and his suggestion that Saudi Arabia was behind the story that exposed his extramarital affair.
Jonathan Berr of Forbes.com reports that son of the Enquirer’s founder is an interested buyer:
Paul David Pope, one of the sons of the late National Enquirer owner Generoso Pope Jr., said he is lining up partners to buy the supermarket tabloid from its cash-strapped current owner American Media Inc. (AMI) under fire for its role in paying off a former a Playboy model who claimed to have an affair with President Trump.
Pope declined to disclose the partners he was talking to and wasn’t sure if other bidders were also interested in the Enquirer. He is a critic of AMI and its CEO David Pecker whom he described as “pathetic” and accused of mismanaging the publication.
“I am the only person … by virtue of my birthright and osmosis and growing up in this family business … that could resurrect it to some extent,” said the 51-year-old Pope in an interview. “Nobody would be able to bring back the Enquirer to where my father had it. That’s impossible…”
When Pope’s father ran the Enquirer, the company sold between 5.5 million to 6 million copies per week and generated profits in “the three figured millions,” he said. Circulation dropped to almost 250,000 last year when AMI posted a loss of $72 million. After Pope’s father died in 1988, the Enquirer was reportedly sold for $412.5 million.
Eric Lutz of Vanity Fair reported that one of AMI’s top investors is unhappy with its performance:
Anthony Melchiorre, the hedge-fund manager who controls A.M.I., has reportedly grown “disgusted” with the tabloid.
“They didn’t want to deal with hassles like this anymore,” a source told The Washington Post, which is owned by Bezos. (Melchiorre did not respond to the Post’s request for comment.)
The Enquirer, a mainstay of supermarket checkout lines, has long built its name on trash, including what is perhaps its most famous stunt: publishing a cover photo of Elvis Presley dead in his coffin. But in its reported efforts on behalf of Trump and its feud with Bezos, the tabloid seems to have finally flown too close to the sun.
In 2016, under A.M.I. C.E.O. and Trump pal David Pecker, the tabloid purchased the story of Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who claimed to have had an affair with Trump, and buried it in what is known as a “catch and kill.” The shady deal was arranged by former Trump fixer Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to campaign-finance violations stemming from his efforts to quash the stories of McDougal and Stormy Daniels, and has maintained that he committed his crimes at Trump’s behest.