April 24, 2019
Hudson News CEO to buy The National Enquirer
by Ryan Harrington
It’s been an eventful couple of years for The National Enquirer.
The man in charge, David Pecker, has gained unwanted attention for his Trump-buddyism and possible attempts to bury unflattering stories about our 45th President. More recently, the tabloid published an incredibly strange bit of Saudi propaganda, the murky origins of which may have become clearer thanks to some Jeff Bezos dick pics.
Woof. Eventful indeed.
Too eventful, in fact, for the paper’s parent company, American Media Inc. (AMI), who has sold this controversy magnet of a supermarket tabloid. The sale, for $100 million, transfers the publication’s ownership to James Cohen, the CEO of your favorite airport bookstore chain/dramamine retailer, Hudson News.
Of course, there is an economic angle here as well. As Sarah Ellison reports for The Washington Post:
AMI faced financial difficulty as it sought to refinance more than $400 million in debt and the Enquirer’s circulation continued to decline. The paper sold an average of 516,000 copies per issue as recently as 2014, but that number fell to 218,000 in December, according to data compiled by the Alliance for Audited Media.
The sale price of $100 million is a stunning figure for a scandal-ridden tabloid. The New York Times Co. sold the Boston Globe for $70 million in 2013. Bezos paid $250 million for The Post that same year.
Sister publications the National Examiner and the Globe are also involved in the sale, and Pecker says the properties are still worth $30 million in profit. Cohen, for his part, will try to grow that number by showcasing the Enquirer’s archival material in other media like documentaries and podcasts.
Ryan Harrington is a senior editor at Melville House.