Posts tagged with "Sale"

Under attack, National Enquirer is put up for sale

April 12, 2019

The National Enquirer—the supermarket tabloid that in February allegedly extorted Jeff Bezos about his extramarital activities and, during the 2016 campaign, “exposed” then-candidate Hillary Clinton’s “secret health crisis”—is up for sale, according to an April 10 report by The New York Times.

Owned by American Media and helmed by David Pecker—a longtime pal of Donald Trump’s who used the scandal sheet to run a smear campaign against Clinton during the 2016 elections—the Enquirer is likely to have a buyer in a matter of days, the Times said.

The most likely prospect is rumored to be billionaire investor Ronald W. Burkle, a supermarket magnate with ties to President Bill Clinton, according to two people with direct knowledge of the negotiations. Such a move would turn the political tables on President Trump.

In addition to his offensive strikes against Amazon CEO Bezos (who also owns The Washington Post, one of the president’s “fake media foes”) and Hillary Clinton; Pecker is said to have sealed a deal to buy a story from Karen McDougal—a Playboy model who said she had an affair with the president.

The company acquired McDougal’s story for $150,000 and never published it, following a practice known in the tabloid business as “catch-and-kill.” Federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York gave Mr. Pecker an immunity deal during an investigation of the arrangement.

Prosecutors identified the $150,000 payment to McDougal as a political contribution made in violation of campaign finance law, the Times reported. Under a non-prosecution deal, American Media affirmed that it had made the payment to “influence the election.”

That agreement, signed in September, stipulated that American Media “shall commit no crimes whatsoever” for three years, and that if it did, the company “shall thereafter be subject to prosecution for any federal criminal violation of which this office has knowledge.”

The deal has put the company in a difficult position, the Times said—pointing out that federal prosecutors now have have started investigating the blackmail claims by Bezos.

Indeed, the principal owner of American Media, the hedge fund Chatham Asset Management, led by Anthony Melchiorre, pushed Pecker to sell the tabloid after it found itself in the cross hairs of the federal investigation and at the receiving end of Bezos’ wrath.

Melchiorre no longer saw an upside in being associated with The Enquirer, the people familiar with the matter said, and the tabloid’s financial losses provided further motivation for a sale.

Research contact: @nytimes

In $550M transaction, Diageo unloads 19 ‘value’ brands to U.S. distiller Sazerac

November 13, 2018

London-based Diageo, the world’s largest distiller, is selling its portfolio of 19 value or “lower-end” brands—including Goldschläger schnapps and Seagram’s Canadian whiskey—to Metairie, Louisiana-based Sazerac for US$550 million in a transaction expected to close early in 2019.

The company has announced that it is pivoting toward premium brands and higher-growth products, The Financial Times reported on November 12.

“Diageo has a clear strategy to deliver consistent efficient growth and value creation for our shareholders,” said CEO Ivan Menezes in a formal statement, adding, “This includes a disciplined approach to allocating resources and capital to ensure we maximize retu- growing premium and above brands in the U.S. spirits portfolio.”

Menezes said the brands included in the transaction would include Seagram’s VO, Seagram’s 83, Seagram’s Five Star, Myers’s, Parrot Bay, Romana Sambuca, Popov, Yukon Jack, Goldschläger, Stirrings, The Club, Scoresby, Black Haus, Peligroso, Relska, Grind, Piehole, Booth’s, and John Begg.

According to FT, the United States— which accounts for about 45% of group profits—has been a problem spot for Diageo. The financial news daily said, “ the group’s significant exposure to the vodka ‘value’ brands, have caused Diageo’s U.S. sales to grow more slowly than the market. In its financial year 2018 to June, Diageo posted 3% organic sales growth in the US, compared with the 4% cent growth seen for the US spirits market overall.”

This is not the company’s first spirits sale aimed at greater profitability. Since 2015, Diageo has unloaded its wine business, as well as its beer brand Red Stripe.

The company said it would return net proceeds of about US$441 million to investors through share buybacks.

Sazerac is a privately owned company that, as of 2017, operated nine distilleries worldwide and ranked as the second largest spirit producer in the United States.

Research contact: @labboudles