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National Enquirer's parent company says it's likely to sell the tabloid 'in the near future'

Key Points
  • American Media Inc. says it will likely sell the National Enquirer "in the near future."
  • President and CEO David Pecker says the company is more focused on its successful teen and active lifestyle brands, as well as other platforms.
  • The Washington Post reports that the efforts for a sale come after pressure from the manager of AMI's hedge-fund owner, who found the Enquirer's alleged reporting tactics unpalatable.
David Pecker, Chairman and CEO of American Media speaks in New York City, January 31, 2014.
Marion Curtis | Reuters

The National Enquirer may soon have a new owner.

The tabloid's parent company, American Media Inc., said it will "explore strategic options" for the National Enquirer and the National Examiner, adding that this "will likely result in their sale in the near future."

AMI President and CEO David Pecker said that the company is focused on its teen and active lifestyle brands and other platforms.

"Because of this focus, we feel the future opportunities with the tabloids can be best exploited by a different ownership," Pecker said in a statement Wednesday.

The New York Times reported Thursday that AMI may sell the Enquirer to billionaire investor and Democratic donor Ron Burkle.

On Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that efforts to sell came after the hedge fund manager who controls AMI through his fund "became 'disgusted' with the Enquirer's reporting tactics." The Enquirer has been accused of extortion and practicing "catch and kill" techniques.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who owns The Washington Post, alleged the Enquirer attempted to blackmail and extort him. AMI said it did nothing illegal but would investigate the matter. Federal prosecutors are looking into the tabloid's handling of a story regarding Bezos' affair.

AMI has also been sued for allegedly paying former Playboy model Karen McDougal for the rights to her story about an affair with President Donald Trump, only to hide it from publication. McDougal has been released from her $150,000 contract with American Media.

AMI is controlled by Chatham Asset Management. The Post reported that fund manager Anthony Melchiorre pressured AMI to sell amid its financial struggles and his disapproval of the allegations against the Enquirer. Chatham declined to comment to the Post. Melchiorre didn't respond to the Post's request for comment.

The company previously filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2010. Debtwire later reported that AMI sought $425 million from capital market investors. The media company previously sold Shape to Meredith for $79 million. The proceeds of that deal were expected to pay down AMI's debt.