AMI, the parent company of the National Enquirer, tried to extort Jeff Bezos, the multibillionaire owner of Amazon and the Washington Post. The lawyers threatened to post embarrassing photographs of him if he didn’t make certain statements that were untrue. Instead of bowing to their demands, he published their letters. His letter is wonderful.

It just goes to show that if you are a billionaire, you can laugh at extortionists.

The issue: AMI apparently doesn’t like the Washington Post coverage of the murder of Jamaal Khashoggi. It has a long history of protecting Trump and paying off women who want to sell their story of having a liaison with him.

Of interest to readers of this site: Austin Beutner, the superintendent of the LA public schools, was on the board of directors of AMI after his company invested in AMI.

Evercore Capital Partners, the controlling shareholder of American Media, Inc. (“AMI”), announced today that it has agreed to a recapitalization of AMI in partnership with Thomas H. Lee Partners (“THL”) that values the Company at $1.5 billion.

Evercore and THL investors will each fund approximately one-half of the total equity of $508 million in the recapitalization. Following the transaction, Evercore and THL will jointly control AMI.

“AMI has strong, well-established titles, consistent and substantial free cash flow, and terrific growth potential through advertising, pricing, brand extensions, the integration of the Weider transaction and new acquisitions. We are excited about the opportunity to partner with Evercore and David.”

The transaction will be structured as a recapitalization in which the original investors in the May 1999 purchase of AMI, led by Evercore, will sell their interests to the new investor group.

American Media Chairman, President & CEO David J. Pecker said, “This new capitalization of AMI better allows us to build a larger media company and makes the multi-billion dollar funds from Evercore and THL available to us. Thanks to the efforts of Austin Beutner and Evercore, our recent acquisition of Weider transformed us from a tabloid publisher into a consumer magazine company, and this new transaction will let us pursue even bigger targets. Thomas H. Lee Partners’ investment will be a great addition for AMI, not only in terms of capital, but also in their wealth of experience.”

Austin M. Beutner, Evercore President, said, “It has been a great and very profitable partnership with David Pecker and the team at AMI over the last four years and we look forward to the next phase of growth. As the company has proven itself in building significant value through acquisitions, and as the acquisition environment is becoming more favorable, we felt it prudent to recapitalize AMI in order to provide greater financial flexibility. We have partnered with our friends at THL in the past and look forward to continuing together the successful execution of AMI’s long-term strategy.”

Evercore Partners and Mr. Pecker acquired American Media in May of 1999. AMI purchased the Globe later that same year. Since then they have significantly enhanced the position and performance of AMI’s six tabloids, launched four successful new titles, become the leader in the country music magazine market, and recently purchased Weider Publications, the leading worldwide publisher of health and fitness titles, for $350 million. EBITDA has nearly doubled under their ownership.