National Enquirer publisher seeking to sell off tabloid

The publishing company American Media Inc. (AMI) is in talks to sell off its National Enquirer tabloid, reportedly because of its owner's concerns about the magazine's reporting tactics.

"We have been keenly focused on leveraging the popularity of our celebrity glossy, teen and active lifestyle brands while developing new and robust platforms including broadcast and audio programming, and a live events business, that now deliver significant revenue streams," said American Media President and CEO David J. Pecker in a statement released Wednesday evening.

"Because of this focus, we feel the future opportunities with the tabloids can be best exploited by a different ownership," he continued.

However, The Washington Post reported Wednesday that hedge fund manager Anthony Melchiorre, whose firm controls AMI, is "disgusted" with the tabloid following its involvement in a scheme to pay $200,000 for text messages between Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his girlfriend, who at the time was having an affair with Bezos. The Amazon CEO has since gone through a divorce.

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One person familiar with conversations at AMI about the tabloid told the Post that the discussions were occurring “because they didn’t want to deal with hassles like this anymore,” referring to the Bezos controversy.

Much of the pressure to sell the National Enquirer reportedly comes from Melchiorre, who controls the hedge fund Chatham Asset Management, which holds an 80 percent stake in AMI.

The relationship between Pecker and President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE was also a concern, the Post reports. The Enquirer was reportedly involved in Trump's efforts during the 2016 election to pay off women who threatened to come forward with stories of affairs with him, including Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.

“The Trump thing was an issue, and [Melchiorre] was really disgusted by the Bezos reporting,” a source close to the discussions told the Post.

Bezos wrote in a Medium post in February that the magazine was guilty of attempting to extort him, and the company has faced legal scrutiny from federal prosecutors over the issue.

-Joe Concha contributed to this report which was updated at 7:52 p.m.