National Enquirer sold to group that includes indicted ex-MoviePass chairman

In this photo illustration, celebrity gossip dominates the cover of the National Enquirer magazine on April 11, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.

Scott Olson | Getty Images

The National Enquirer, the tabloid at the center of former President Donald Trump’s multiple scandals, will be sold to Theodore Farnsworth, the former chairman of MoviePass who has been indicted for securities fraud.

The Enquirer’s parent company, a360 Media, has agreed to sell – along with other tabloid brands National Examiner, The Globe and National Enquirer UK – to VVIP Ventures, a joint venture. Winco Ventures and Icon Publishing, the companies said Monday. Vinco owns Lomotif, which he describes as a competitor to TikTok.

“We look forward to integrating these publications into our business and continuing their legacy of success,” Winco Executive Chairman Rod Vanderbilt said in a statement.

The value of the deal was not disclosed, but Farnsworth, the founder of Icon Publishing, told The New York Times that it was a little less than $100 million. The National Enquirer has been on the block for nearly four years.

Both sides of the transaction have checkered and controversial histories.

In November, prosecutors alleged that Farnsworth and others misled investors about MoviePass, the once popular movie ticketing startup, by saying that its “unlimited” plan would be sustainable and profitable. . Rather, officials said, the two men knew it was simply a marketing ploy. The Securities and Exchange Commission also accused Farnsworth of wrongdoing. A spokesman for Farnsworth has said his lawyers will fight the charges until they are proven.

News of the settlement also comes a week after former National Enquirer publisher David Packer and his attorney were seen entering a Manhattan courthouse where a grand jury was convened to determine The question was whether Trump should be indicted over an alleged scheme to pay porn star Stormy Daniels. Before the 2016 election

Packer was known to be a friend of Trump. He has been accused of adopting a “catch and kill” strategy on stories that appeared potentially embarrassing to Trump. Meaning, the investigator under his watch would allegedly pay for stories about Trump and never publish them.

In 2018, for example, federal prosecutors granted immunity to the National Enquirer’s parent company over a $150,000 hush-money payment the tabloid made to Playboy model Karen McDougall, who it claims had an affair with Trump.

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