The company that owns The National Enquirer, American Media Inc., has announced its plan to sell the magazine for $100 million to James Cohen. Cohen is currently the CEO of Hudson News, an American news stand company with stores in nearly every U.S. airport. The deal was announced on Thursday and also includes two other gossip publications, Globe and National Examiner. Hudson News will be assuring growth in the brands as they move forward with the sale.
The current owner of The National Enquirer, David Pecker, announced in a statement on Thursday that Hudson News will be a bright future for the gossip tabloid. “”The sale of these brands shows their vitality in today’s newsstand marketplace where they continue to generate nearly $30 million in profit annually,” said Pecker. “James and his team at Hudson have a proven history in publishing and have the market-based knowledge and long-term vision needed to ensure the growth of these brands,” he continued in the statement.
The sale of the tabloids will help American Media Inc. (AMI) with their now $335 million in debt, according to NPR. Pecker, who is the CEO of AMI, has admitted the company is in some financial trouble. The company also owns tabloids like US Weekly, In Touch, and OK! It’s also got its hands in the world of health and fitness publications and teen publications. However, it’s massive debt continues to be a major obstacle in any future growth for the media company.
Publications like The National Enquirer do not come without a massive, highly controversial history. In 2018, Pecker admitted to using the National Enquirer as a way to bribe Karen McDougal before the 2016 election on Trump’s behalf. Pecker, who has strong personal ties to the current President, is cooperating with law enforcement. He has to, otherwise he would likely face prosecution himself. Pecker and Trump’s personal relationship goes back decades, and the media CEO likely helped out the President as a personal favor.
That’s not all, though, as The National Enquirer was also the subject of a major scandal just this year. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos accused the company of trying to blackmail him. Bezos, who owns The Washington Post, alleged that The National Enquirer threatened to publish personal photos of himself unless he agreed to tell The Washington Post to stop publishing news articles about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
Khashoggi, for those who may not know, was a journalist that was arrested and killed in Saudi Arabia last year. He worked for The Washington Post. Khashoggi was named Person of the Year by TIME Magazine for his journalistic efforts. Bezos alleges that The National Enquirer was being used to blackmail him because the tabloids owner, AMI (and, therefore, Pecker) were taking money from the Saudi Arabian government.
Now that the magazine has been sold to Hudson News, it’s not clear what the future holds for the brand. Cohen has said that he plants to grow the tabloid exponentially under its new ownership. The National Enquirer has seen limited circulation in recent years partly because of AMI’s bad financial reality. Now, with AMI in the past, The National Enquirer can begin to grow again.