Published: Sun, April 14, 2019
Economy | By

American Media LLC Plans To Sell 'National Enquirer'

American Media LLC Plans To Sell 'National Enquirer'

The National Enquirer, which is under fire for paying hush money to a former model linked to US President Donald Trump, is on the auction block.

Pecker stated that American Media has shifted emphasis away from publications like the National Enquirer and its other tabloids, such as Star, and renewed focus on magazines like Us Weekly and Men's Journal. "Because of this focus, we feel the future opportunities with the tabloids can be best exploited by a different ownership", said American Media CEO David Pecker in a statement. The CEO in January announced his divorce from his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie Bezos, and the couple last week announced a settlement that leaves Bezos with 75 percent of their stock in the company.

The U.S. attorney in NY agreed not to prosecute the company in exchange for its cooperation into an investigation of Trump's attorney, Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and other crimes. That probe eventually led to a three-year prison term for Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen for campaign violations among other charges.

Bezos said the tabloid promised not to publish the photos if he stopped his private investigators from trying to find out how the tabloid obtained the texts.

Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post, was the subject of an explosive National Enquirer story earlier this year that exposed an affair he was having.

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.

Amid these developments, Bezos has expanded his legal team, adding attorney Matthew Schwartz, a partner at law firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP who spent a decade as a federal prosecutor in NY, the people familiar with the matter said.

American Media Inc. made the decision to sell the National Enquirer after the manager of the hedge fund controlling the company became "disgusted" with the reporting tactics practiced by the outlet.

Messages were sent to AMI seeking comment Thursday.

In a statement, AMI said that a "decision has been taken to explore strategic options for its National Enquirer (US and United Kingdom editions), Globe and National Examiner brands which will result in their sale in the near future".

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