The National Enquirer, the 97-year-old controversial tabloid behind several barely-there celebrity and political scandals, has sold itself to a brand acquisition company.
American Media Inc. has offloaded the publication to VVIP Ventures, a joint venture between Vinco Ventures, Inc. and a360 Media, for an undisclosed price, the companies announced Monday. The National Examiner and the Globe, as well as the UK edition of the Inquirer, are also part of the sale.
The National Enquirer has made its mark in the media with outlandish headlines and controversial stories, some of which have become mainstream media stories, including stories about former President Donald Trump and Amazon Chairman Jeff Bezos. Its owners have been trying to sell the tabloid since at least 2019 when former US Media CEO David Packer said the company was under “intense pressure” to split from the Inquirer.
Packer’s close relationship with Trump has also come under scrutiny for offering to “catch and kill” negative stories about him.
In one instance before the 2016 presidential election, the tabloid paid former Playboy model Karen McDougall $150,000 for a story about her alleged affair with Trump. The story never took off and AMI said at the time that the money was for fitness columns. Trump has denied the matter. He also made a similar deal with adult film star Stormy Daniels.
In 2019, Bezos accused the Inquirer of extortion. The Amazon founder alleged that AMI threatened to release his compromising photos. Bezos wrote a Medium post detailing what he said were AMI’s emails in what he described as blackmail. AMI has not commented on Bezos’ claims.
The new owners told The New York Times that the titles sold for “a little less” than $100 million and claimed that the tabloid was profitable from its print and subscription sales. Going forward, the plan is to expand into TV, film and podcasts, as well as leverage the new company’s digital advertising network.
The deal is expected to close in the coming months. AMI also owns Us Weekly, OK, Star, In Touch, Men’s Journal, and Muscle & Fitness, but those magazines are not part of the deal with VVIP Ventures.
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