After being engulfed in a scandal surrounding President Trump’s payoff to adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, the National Enquirer has been sold to a man named James Cohen, whose family founded Hudson News, a retailer located inside U.S. and Canadian airports.
By: Harry Cherry
David Pecker, a longtime friend and associate of President Trump, who is the Chairman and CEO of American Media, the Enquirer’s parent company, would repeatedly purchase rights to stories which, if published, would be damaging to Mr. Trump, in order to squash them, according to four people familiar with the publication’s routine practices.
The Washington Post reported earlier this month that American Media wanted to sell the Enquirer because a hedge fund manager who owns a controlling interest in the tabloid became “disgusted” with the paper’s practice of doing Mr. Trump’s public-relations bidding.
The Enquirer has been battling Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who alleged in February that the paper tried to extort him by threatening to release additional damaging photographs of Mr. Bezos with his mistress, Lauren Sanchez, in addition to photographs released as part of its original scoop on Mr. Bezos, if he did not meet certain demands.
“AMI’s claim of newsworthiness is that the photos are necessary to show Amazon shareholders that my business judgment is terrible,” Mr. Bezos wrote in a blog post after the Enquirer published photos of him with Mrs. Sanchez, his mistress. “I founded Amazon in my garage 24 years ago, and drove all the packages to the post office myself.”
“Today, Amazon employs more than 600,000 people, just finished its most profitable year ever, even while investing heavily in new initiatives, and it’s usually somewhere between the #1 and #5 most valuable company in the world,” Mr. Bezos continued.
Mr. Pecker and AMI’s counsel, Dylan Howard, entered into legal non-prosecution agreements with the federal government in exchange for meeting certain demands leveled by the federal government.
AMI said Thursday that the sale of the National Enquirer and it’s two parent companies to Mr. Cohen include “a multi-year service contract that will generate substantial fees for American Media to provide publishing, financial and distribution services for the tabloid brands.”
American Media announced on April 10th that it was “exploring strategic options” for various print publications, including the National Enquirer.
“We have been keenly focused on leveraging the popularity of our celebrity glossy, teen and active lifestyle brands while developing new and robust platforms including broadcast and audio programming, and a live events business, that now deliver significant revenue streams,” Mr. Pecker recently said in a statement. “Because of this focus, we feel the future opportunities with the tabloids can be best exploited by a different ownership.”
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