The National Enquirer (U.S. and UK editions) and sister publications Globe and National Examiner are being unloaded by A360 Media to a JV of Vinco Ventures and Ted Farnsworth’s Icon Publishing. The exec was CEO of Helios & Matheson, a public company that acquired MoviePass in 2017 only see the ticketing service go belly-up three years later.
The Enquirer, a nearly century-old, often scandal-plagued tabloid, most recently achieved notoriety under former publisher David Pecker with so-called “catch and kill” tactics — paying for stories that were potentially embarrassing to former President Donald Trump and never running them. That included payments to Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claimed she had an affair with Trump. In 2019, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, in the midst of a divorce, accused the tabloid of attempting to strong arm and extort him with intimate photos and texts.
Terms of today’s deal weren’t disclosed but it’s reportedly worth just under $100 million. A360 Media parent, Accelerate360, will continue to provide publishing and distribution services. The parties also have an exclusive 90-day window to continue discussions around other business collaborations.
Lifestyle, celebrity and entertainment-focused A360 Media assets include Us Weekly, Life & Style and OK! It recently acquired Bauer’s U.S. publishing business and Centennial Media.
Farnsworth was indicted last fall in New York District Court for fraud for misleading Moviepass investors over the viability of its businesss strategy. The SEC has also sued him and former MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe for fraud.
Publicly traded Vinco, a meme stock that’s trading at under $1 a share, owns Lomotif, which it calls a “TikTok alternative,” as well as ad-tech firms AdRizer, Mind Tank and Honey Badger, and educational platform Magnifi U.
The National Enquirer deal includes all print and digital assets and IP, creating “new opportunities for wide-scale exploitation” on digital, film, TV and social, Vinco said. It will “aggressively pursue TV, film and podcast licensing partnerships, as well as creating new productions, leveraging the National Enquirer’s legendary archive, in-depth investigative journalism and breaking news.”
The existing editorial team will transition over.
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