The union of two of the biggest sources of BS the world has ever encountered!
Enquirer May Bid for Magazines Offer Likely for Weider String
By Evan Pondel\ Staff Writer
WOODLAND HILLS - The owner of the National Enquirer and a New York-based investment group are mulling the purchase of Weider Publications for $335 million, reports said Monday.
The move comes at a time when Weider, producer of magazine titles including Shape, Flex and Men’s Fitness, faces anemic advertising revenues amid a new Federal Trade Commission initiative. The FTC is posturing to curb the advertising of certain dietary supplements, a vital source of revenue for Weider.
Officials at the company’s Woodland Hills-based parent, Weider Health & Fitness, did not return phone calls and would not allow a reporter in their Erwin Street headquarters. American Media spokesman Gerald McKelvey would not comment about the potential bid from the company, which owns the Enquirer.
Evercore Partners and several other investors - including William Reilly, the chief executive of Aurelian Communications LLC; Cypress Capital; Veronis, Suhler Stevenson & Associates; and Warburg Pincus - are also bidding for Weider, according to The Wall Street Journal.
At a time when health magazines have seen a surge in popularity, American Media is attempting to revamp its tabloid persona.
“But I don’t think Shape and Flex have the name recognition that could change American Media,” said Ed Susman, a former National Enquirer medical reporter. “The anthrax disaster already made tabloids and American Media synonymous.”
American Media evacuated its headquarters last year in Boca Raton, Fla., after a photo editor died from anthrax.
The Enquirer isn’t a neophyte when it comes to producing health- related journalism. In the mid-1980s, the Enquirer had strong alliances with the American Heart Association and the Arthritis Foundation.
“These organizations would literally sign off on the accuracy of the stories we would write,” said Susman, who now freelances for United Press International.
Instead of fostering sensational stories about disease, the Enquirer became a source of information for people that actually needed help, he said. At one point the Enquirer published the Arthritis Foundation’s phone number, “and the response was so intense, the organization needed to save the life of their own switchboard,” Susman said.
But tabloid sales have declined in recent years. And American Media’s desire to purchase other properties could benefit the company’s marketing breadth.
Andrew Holtz, who was a CNN medical correspondent for 10 years, said the addition of Shape and Flex may not improve American Media’s content, but it would certainly round out the company’s product.
“In terms of advertising revenue, magazines like Shape and Men’s Fitness are really nice because they don’t dig into any controversial issues,” Holtz said. “They are kind and write about things in terms of the larger issue that are often inconsequential.”