Late Publisher’s son wants to buy tabloid
The Miami Herald
December 19, 1988
LANTANA – Paul Pope, the 21-year-old son of late National Enquirer publisher Generoso Pope, said he wants to buy the gossipy tabloid and has the financial backing to do so.
“I’m ready to do whatever it takes to keep it in the family,” Pope said Saturday.
He also appears to have the support of National Enquire employees, who applauded whenever his name was mentioned at a meeting Saturday with representatives of the newspaper’s trustees.
Nearly 125 employees questioned representatives of The Blackstone Group about their future during the meeting at the Airport Hilton in West Palm Beach.
Blackstone is one of the three trustees for the elder Pope’s company, GP Group, which publishes the Enquirer and the Weekly World News.
Generoso Pope died of a heart attack Oct. 2. His will mentioned that the company was to be sold, though a trustee said that was a suggestion, and “not an instruction.”
As Saturday’s session, one man complained of a “dearth of credibility” now that Generoso Pope is gone. Employees also asked about severance pay, profit sharing and whether they would have a veto power over any potential buyer.
Blackstone representative Austin Buetner said most of questions could not be answered immediately. Buy any mention of Paul Pope’s efforts to buy the paper drew applause from the group, prompting Buetner to say near the end of the meeting, “I sense a strong feeling here that Paul Pope should run the company.”
The younger Pope did not attend the meeting, but said afterward he had met with employees Thursday to tell them his plans.
“I answered as many questions as I could,” Pope said. “That got the ball rolling.”
He said GP Group could be sold for $150 million to $300 million, “depending on how bad someone wants it.”
“I feel that I have a better chance than nearly everyone out there,” he said.
The Wall Street Journal, which reported Tuesday that the tabloid was for sale, quoted an analyst who valued the paper at $400 million.
Employees at Saturday’s meeting complained that they did not know the paper was for sale until the Journal article appeared.
The Enquirer has a weekly paid circulation of 4.5 million and an estimated readership of 19 million. Generoso Pope bought the New York Enquirer in 1962, renamed it the National Enquirer and pioneered a sensational style that made it the leader among supermarket tabloids. Generoso Pope moved the paper to Lantana in 1971.
Jerome Traum, a New York attorney trustee for the paper, said the trustees have not set a price or placed any time limit or other conditions on the sale.
The Wall Street Journal identified other potential buyers as Robert Maxwell British printing, and publishing tycoon, Mike Rosenbloom, a Canadian investor who owns several rival publications, including the Globe, the National Examiner and the Sun.