National Enquirer parent buys Us Weekly for $100m

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The parent company of American tabloid the National Enquirer has agreed to scoop up celebrity magazine Us Weekly for $100m.

American Media’s purchase of Us Weekly will give the group a deeper foothold in the popular culture arena that is in vogue among young readers.

Us Weekly sells about 1.95m paid copies per week and its website is visited by 22m visitors a month, American Media said in a statement. The magazine was founded in 1977 by the New York Times company, and was acquired eight years later by Wenner Media, the publisher of Rolling Stone magazine.

Wenner has been slimming down recently amid lawsuits over Rolling Stone’s discredited story about a rape at the University of Virginia. Wenner sold a 49 per cent stake in Rolling Stone last year to an Asian investor and used part of the money to pay down a loan.

“We are excited to bring one of the most distinctive and powerful media brands to AMI and are looking forward to continuing its great editorial standards its loyal and growing audience expects,” said American Media chief executive David Pecker.

In addition to its print products, Us Weekly has over the past year been building its video platform, which now generates 20 editorial and branded videos per day. Video advertising represents a lucrative avenue for publishers who are facing stiff competition from the likes of Google-parent Alphabet and Facebook in digital ads.

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but a person familiar with the matter said that American Media paid $100m for Us Weekly.

Industry analyst Ken Doctor said earlier this month he reckons Us Weekly’s annual earnings before interest taxes depreciation and amortisation was around $15m – $20m. Mr Doctor pegged sales at $125m – $150m, but noted that they were on a downward trajectory.

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