National Enquirer to Be Sold to Hudson News CEO

Copies of the National Enquirer are displayed at a grocery store on August 24, 2018 - Getty-H 2019
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Recently the tabloid has been best known for its cozy relationship with President Trump and for its feud with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

National Enquirer, the 93-year-old celebrity tabloid that has recently been a friend to President Trump and an adversary to Jeff Bezos, has a new owner.

Parent company American Media Inc., run by CEO David Pecker and controlled by Chatham Asset Management, is selling the tabloid to James Cohen, CEO of the airport newsstand company Hudson News, it said on Thursday. The Globe and National Examiner are also part of the sale. The sale price wasn't disclosed. 

"The sale of these brands shows their vitality in today's newsstand marketplace where they continue to generate nearly $30 million in profit annually," said CEO Pecker in a statement. "James and his team at Hudson have a proven history in publishing and have the market-based knowledge and long-term vision needed to ensure the growth of these brands."

Chatham, run by Anthony Melchiorre, has controlled American Media since 2014, and shedding the title leaves the firm with a host of magazines that are less reliant on celebrity gossip, such as Hers, Men's Journal and Muscle & Fitness.

Melchiorre had reportedly become disenchanted with the direction of Enquirer and said on Wednesday (April 11) that it was seeking a buyer. Recent controversies included the claim from Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon, that the Enquirer was attempting to "blackmail" him and allegations it has spiked stories that reflect poorly on Trump.

The National Enquirer was founded in New York in 1926, moved to Florida in 1971 and American Media relocated it back to New York five years ago. 

Known as one of the few publications to purchase information from sources, the supermarket tabloid has been sued a few times, most notably by Carol Burnett after the Enquirer reported she was drunk in public.

The outlet lost a lawsuit brought by Kate Hudson over a story suggesting she suffered from an eating disorder, and it settled another one out of court from the wife of former Congressman Gary Condit after his intern, Chadra Levy, went missing and was later found murdered.

Some of the more notable stories the Enquirer broke involved former presidential candidate John Edwards having an affair with Rielle Hunter and evidence that O.J. Simpson wore Bruno Magli shoes that were similar to footprints at the scene of the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. The outlet was also praised by some for investigative pieces on the murder of Bill Cosby's son, Ennis.

After the terror attacks on Sep. 11, 2001, American Media was the first outlet to receive anthrax in the mail, though the letters containing the deadly poison weren't necessarily meant for workers at the Enquirer. Later, NBC, ABC and CBS were similarly targeted.

Recently, though, the Enquirer has been best known for its cozy relationship with Trump and for its feud with Bezos. In February, the founder and CEO of Amazon published emails from American Media that appear to threaten the release of embarrassing photos should Bezos not stop The Washington Post, which he owns, from investigating how the Enquirer gained access to some of his personal emails that suggested he was having an extramarital affair.

"Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I've decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten," Bezos wrote on Medium.

April 18, 2:50 pm PST Updated with American Media Inc. statement.