By Samuel Chamberlain
Published April 18, 2019
The deal announced by American Media Inc. also includes two other supermarket tabloids, Globe and the National Examiner. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The sale comes after the Enquirer was caught up in a federal investigation of illegal campaign contributions to Donald Trump's presidential campaign in 2016. In September of last year, American Media reached a "non-prosecution" agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York in which it admitted to paying former Playboy model Karen McDougal $150,000 for the rights to her story about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump in order to "suppress the woman’s story so as to prevent it from influencing the election."
AMI also admitted it made the payment to McDougal "in concert with [Trump's] presidential campaign, and in order to ensure that the woman [McDougal] did not publicize damaging allegations about the candidate before the 2016 presidential election."
The Enquirer has also been accused by Amazon chief Jeff Bezos of trying to blackmail him by threatening to publish explicit photos of him. The tabloid denies the charges. Michael Sanchez, the brother of Bezos' girlfriend Lauren Sanchez, has said he cooperated with the tabloid while it was investigating whether the couple was having an extramarital affair. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that AMI paid Michael Sanchez $200,000 for private text messages between Bezos and Lauren Sanchez that the tabloid published in January.
In its announcement, American Media said Cohen "plans to accelerate the Enquirer's current collaborations with [cable channel] Investigation Discovery, as well as the documentary shows it produces for REELZ." Its statement also said Cohen plans to develop weekly serial podcasts examining stories from the Enquirer's archives, as well as increase the number of National Enquirer Live theme parks -- two of which are set to open this summer in Branson, Mo., and Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.