Here’s the score today: David Pecker 1, Jann Wenner 0.
Wenner’s slowly crumbling empire took a hit today as US Weekly has been sold to Pecker’s ascendant American Media.
Wenner and Pecker had been in negotiations weeks ago but they fell apart when Wenner wanted too much money. US Weekly is said to be carrying $60-$65 million debt. Wenner wanted $100 million, AMI offered $85 mil. When they couldn’t come to terms, AMI bowed out. Tronc, the weirdly named Tribune Publishing Company then said they’d buy US.
But that deal fell apart, and Wenner’s people went back to Pecker. Presumably Pecker got a bargain at that point. US Weekly will be his most upscale publication in a pack with The National Enquirer, Star, the Globe, and Radar.com.
As for Wenner, he’s got problems. Rolling Stone has been hobbled by lawsuits stemming from the non-rape story with the University of Virginia. Half of Wenner Media– well, 49%– is now owned by the Chinese. Wenner’s 26 year old son Gus is running the magazine. And Jann’s Men’s Journal is sort of redundant to AMI’s Men’s Fitness should Wenner need a buyer that magazine any time soon.
Of course, he still has the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to keep him busy.