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National Enquirer, caught in "catch-and-kill" scandal, is sold

The National Enquirer, the scandal-plagued tabloid that engaged in "catch-and-kill" practices to bury stories about Donald Trump during his presidential campaign, has been sold by its parent company.

Magazine publisher a360 agreed to sell the National Enquirer and another tabloid, the Globe, to VVIP in an all-cash deal, though exact financial terms were not disclosed. VVIP is a joint venture between digital media company Vinco Ventures and ICON Publishing, which was founded by former MoviePass chairman Ted Farnsworth.

In December 2018 the parent company of publications including the National Enquirer, Us Weekly and In Touch admitted to engaging in a journalistically dubious practice known as "catch-and-kill" in order to help Donald Trump become president.

Federal prosecutors revealed at the time that they had agreed not to prosecute American Media Inc. for secretly assisting Trump's campaign by paying $150,000 to Playboy model Karen McDougal for the rights to her story about an alleged affair with Trump. The company then intentionally suppressed McDougal's story until after the election.

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, also accused the paper of attempting to blackmail him in 2019 with embarrassing "below the belt" photos sent to his girlfriend unless he publicly backed off criticizing the media company.

In April 2019, American Media announced it would sell the National Enquirer and some other publications to James Cohen, former head of the airport newsstand company Hudson News. However, the transaction was never completed.

In August 2020 David Pecker stepped down as CEO of American Media. At the time, American Media was being taken over by Accelerate360, a logistics firm based in Smyrna, Georgia. Under Pecker, the National Enquirer for years buried potentially embarrassing stories about Trump and other favored celebrities by buying the rights to them and never publishing.

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