NEW YORK — The struggling parent of two of the nation's best-known tabloids, the National Enquirer and the Star, is being acquired by a New York investment firm for $300 million.
American Media Inc., the Lantana, Fla.-based publishing empire that has suffered from slipping newsstand sales, is being purchased by Evercore Partners, which is also assuming $470 million in debt under the deal announced Tuesday.
David Pecker, chief executive of Hachette Filipacchi Magazines, which publishes George, Elle and Mirabella magazines, has been hired as chairman and chief executive of American Media, which will keep its name under the deal.
Pecker is planning a $50-million marketing campaign to boost newspaper sales. The popular tabloids may also be expanded to include teen and Spanish-language versions as well as television programming.
American Media, which also prints Country Weekly and Weekly World News, said last week that it would stop publishing Soap Opera News and Soap Opera magazine and would sell certain assets and trademarks to Primedia Inc.
American Media has been hurt by distribution problems and lackluster sales, exacerbated by a drop in circulation after the death of Princess Diana, whose every move was dogged by tabloids.
The National Enquirer's circulation had dipped to 2.24 million at the end of last year from 2.72 million in June 1997. The Star's circulation fell to 1.82 million from 2.22 million.
Last month, the company reported that profit for the first nine months of its fiscal year dropped 92%, to $569,000 from $6.8 million a year earlier.
American Media shares rose 37.5 cents to close at $6.56 on the New York Stock Exchange. The deal was announced after the market closed.
Evercore, which is headed by former Deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman, offered $7 a share, a 6.6% premium over Tuesday's price.
Boston Ventures Ltd., which owns 70% of American Media, has agreed to the sale.