American Media Lays Off About a Dozen Staffers

Ad Sales, Marketing First; Editorial Expected to Follow

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NEW YORK ( -- David Pecker is swinging the axe at American Media, the troubled publisher of magazines including Star, Shape and the National Enquirer.

David Pecker
David Pecker Credit: Darryl Estrine
Mr. Pecker, chairman-CEO of AMI, kicked off widespread cuts on the business side yesterday, when he eliminated jobs across the ad-sales and marketing teams. Insiders expected the cuts to spread into editorial departments today.

A spokesman said "less than 12" people were cut out of 800 employees, but declined to elaborate. Mr. Pecker's office referred calls back to a spokesman.

Big plans fell short
American Media's private-equity backers, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Evercore Partners, once hoped to collect a big return on their investments by taking the company public. But the business proved more challenging than anticipated, making debt payments difficult to meet. Its plans to remake Star under celebrity editor Bonnie Fuller fell short. A bid to raise money by selling certain magazines fizzled. Financial restatements became common, as did turnover among chief financial officers.

The company previously cut head count in 2007. President-Chief Operating Officer John J. Miller left last month.

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