American Media Inc. announced Thursday that it's selling its National Enquirer, National Examiner and Globe tabloids to James Cohen, owner and CEO of Hudson News, best known for its airport newsstands. The sale comes as the National Enquirer confronts accusations of extortion and blackmail from Jeff Bezos, the Amazon CEO whose alleged affair with a TV personality was the subject of several Enquirer stories.
AMI CEO David Peckerhe wanted to focus more on celebrity brands, such as US Weekly and Men's Journal, which it purchased over the last two years.
The three tabloids generate nearly $30 million in profit a year, AMI said in a press release. The release said Cohen would expand the Enquirer's documentary shows and collaborations with Investigation Discovery.
Bezos announced his divorce in January, hours before the National Enquirer published a story about his alleged affair with TV personality Lauren Sanchez. Bezos then launched an investigation over how the tabloid obtained text messages between him and Sanchez, turned over the results to law enforcement and accused the Enquirer of trying to blackmail him with racy photos in order to stop the investigation.
Bezos' team believes thewere politically motivated because Pecker is a longtime supporter of President Trump and a confidant of the president. Bezos owns The Washington Post, which has been critical of the Trump administration. Last year AMI admitted to paying hush money to a woman who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.
The Washington Post first reported the National Enquirer's sale. According to the Post, the hedge fund that controls AMI decided to sell after becoming "disillusioned with the reporting tactics it practiced."
Caroline Linton contributed reporting.