Commentary

Billionaire Cooperman May Join 'National Enquirer' Deal

Leon Cooperman, the billionaire investor whose $3.6 billion Omega Advisors hedge-fund was converted into a family office last year, may help to backa proposed acquisition of the National Enquirer and two other tabloids.

Cooperman already owns about 10% of American Media Inc., which last month put the Enquirer, National Examiner and Globe up for sale amid a cloud of controversy.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in February ignited a media firestorm after accusing AMI of extortion and blackmail by threatening to publish embarrassing photos the Enquirer had obtained.

Last month, James Cohen, CEO of the Hudson News chain of newsstands, bid $100 million for the three tabloids. His group applied to the Justice Department for an antitrust review required on any acquisition valued at more than $82 million.

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Cooperman is doing due diligence on the deal, an unnamed source told New York Post media columnist Keith Kelly. The same source said AMI CEO David Pecker may participate in the bid. Other sources close to Pecker said he plans to maintain his interest in AMI, which publishes Muscle & Fitness and Us Weekly.

Pecker and Cohen have done business before. Cohen in 2011 invested in AMI’s American edition of OK!, a British tabloid magazine.

Hudson News’s wholesale distribution company delivers magazines and newspapers to about 25% of the country, making the Enquirer a good fit.

Anthony Melchiorre’s Chatham Asset Management owns 80% of AMI. The investor was said to be “disgusted” with the Enquirer’s reporting tactics.

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