Thursday, December 22, 2016

Jared Kushner Quietly Tries to Sell New York Observer

Jared Kushner appears to be ready to pick up sticks and move to Washington, D.C., with his wife Ivanka Trump to become an adviser to his father-in-law, President-Elect Donald Trump, and there’s at least one piece of Manhattan he wants to shed before he goes: The New York Observer. Kushner has been quietly shopping the storied paper to potential buyers.

A potential suitor for the media property had been rumored to be National Enquirer-parent company American Media Inc. AMI declined to comment, however, sources close to the firm expressed skepticism that the company is a potential buyer.

The Observer Media Chairman and Chief Executive Joseph Meyer who, notably, is also Kushner’s brother-in-law, denied speculation the property is for sale, saying: “As one of the fastest-growing businesses in all of digital media, we are constantly being approached by potential investors and partners.”

Insiders surmised that Kushner wants to unload the Observer, which recently ceased printing its salmon-pink weekly edition, so that he can focus on his budding political career. Kushner bought the paper in 2006 for $10 million with dreams of becoming a media mogul. He began slowly changing its mission, focusing it more on digital stories and volume, and less on its trademark New York centric storytelling, which was steeped in media, arts, culture and real estate reporting under longtime Editor in Chief, the late Peter Kaplan, who left the paper in 2009 and later joined WWD parent Fairchild Media over disagreements about deep cuts in the Editorial staff.

It could not be determined how much Kushner is looking to get for the now digital-only property.

When the Observer shuttered its print edition it was revealed that subscribers would either receive a refund or get Pecker’s Star Magazine. The bizarre offering was proof point of a closeness between Pecker and Kushner.

Readers are usually offered some kind of alternative magazine option or a refund when a title shutters, and future owners normally have similar readerships.

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