The National Enquirer is set to be acquired for the second time in less than three years, Axios reports.
Both the U.S. and U.K. editions of the famous tabloid will be sold to a joint venture called VVIP Ventures. The deal will include the National Enquier, The Globe and the National Examiner.
The controversial publication came under fire after its owner admitted in 2018 to paying Playboy model Karen McDougal $150,000 to prevent her from exposing her alleged affair with then-candidate Donald Trump. A spokesperson for the then-president denied the affair.
The Associated Press described the payment as an example of “catch-and-kill,” a practice “in which a publication pays for exclusive rights to someone’s story with no intention of publishing it, either as a favor to a celebrity subject or to gain leverage over the person.”
The payoff was done with the explicit purpose of suppressing the story until after the election to help former President Donald Trump win. (RELATED: Bezos Alleges National Enquirer Owner Of ‘Extortion And Blackmail’)
Watchdog group Common Cause filed a Federal Elections Commission complaint against National Enquirer parent company American Media LLC (AMI), stating that the payment was made with the goal of “influencing the 2016 presidential general election.”
The FEC subsequently fined American Media LLC fined $187,500 for the hush money payments.
In 2020, AMI merged with Accelerate 360 to form a new media company called A360 Media.
The upcoming sale will be for an undisclosed amount, according to Axios.