Probably for nickels and dimes. But oh the days and the likes of David Pecker and company, boy, they sure moved up, and then eventually down in the world. Now their legacy sites are on the chopping block, as no one reads them anymore, and not even dogs want to shit on the paper. But maybe they’ll sell it to some other criminal organizations or some such thing.
The National Enquirer, the gossip tabloid that became engulfed in a 2018 “catch and kill” scandal for burying news about the Trump campaign, is being sold by its owners to a digital publishing joint venture.
Why it matters: The sale marks the second time the publication has undergone ownership changes since its former publisher admitted to paying $150,000 in hush money to a Playboy model in an effort to bury a story about Trump’s alleged affair with her.
Catch up quick: Following the “catch and kill” scandal, the Enquirer’s former parent company American Media LLC, merged with Accelerate360 — a media distribution company — to create a new holding company called A360 Media.
- David Pecker, the Enquirer’s former publisher, in 2020 stepped down as CEO of American Media as part of the deal, and moved into an advisory role.
- American Media LLC said it planned to sell the paper in 2019 when it was still its technical owner, but that deal fell through.
Details: The Enquirer’s current owners say they’ve struck an agreement with a joint venture called VVIP Ventures to acquire both the U.S. and U.K. editions of the National Enquirer, the National Examiner and the Globe in an all-cash transaction for an undisclosed amount.
- VVIP Ventures is a joint venture between Vinco Ventures Inc., a publicly traded digital media and tech company, and ICON Publishing, a limited liability company founded by Ted Farnsworth, a film producer and entrepreneur who was formerly chairman of the embattled movie subscription service MoviePass. Farnsworth was criminally charged with securities fraud last year.
The big picture: The Enquirer has been through a number of scandals in recent years.
- The company was eventually fined $187,500 by the Federal Election Commission for Trump hush money payments.
- It was accused of extortion and blackmail by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in 2019 for threatening to publish nude photos of Bezos and his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez.