With the purchase of the National Enquirer, which Cohen reportedly bought for $100 million, he plans to strengthen their collaborative efforts, documentary shows, weekly podcasts, and theme parks.
“Year after year, the Enquirer has continued to be one of the best-selling and most profitable newsstand titles,” said Cohen in a statement. “But this transaction is about more than a weekly publication, it’s about a brand with extraordinary potential across multiple platforms.”
Despite the optimistic statement from Cohen, it’s no surprise that the sale comes at an opportune time for the Enquirer and AMI CEO David J. Pecker as the company is in debt and has experienced loss of circulation. The Enquirer has a recent history of drama with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and has also received scrutiny for presenting coverage in favor of President Donald Trump during the 2016 election. According to a statement, the sale will help AMI lessen their debt to $355 million.
In February, Bezos called out the Enquirer via blog post detailing the company’s involvement in politics and later for publishing his “intimate text messages” in the publication which resulted in many investigations to solve if they were obtained illegally. AMI fired back threatening to reveal intimate photos of Bezos if he did not halt the investigation and if he called off the Amazon owner’s Washington Post investigation into Trump’s involvement in the Saudi Arabian government. Ultimately, the jury’s out on whether or not AMI acted within the law.
The lengthy debacle hit the publication hard — so hard that Anthony Melchiorre of hedge fund Chatham Asset Management and principal owner of AMI started to put the heat on Pecker to sell the company in order to save it. Now, the internationally-famous airline news distributor Hudson Media will take over with Cohen leading the efforts to grow (and save) the publication.
“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 Pecker. “James Cohen 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.”