How Soon Before AMI’s CEO Mr. Pecker asks for a congressional bailout:

National Enquirer Publisher Near Bankruptcy

American Media Inc. publisher of the National Enquirer and Star magazine is near bankruptcy after missing a Dec. 1 deadline to make a $21 million interest payment on its $1.1 billion debt.

The company has retained bankruptcy lawyers, sources told the New York Post’s Media Ink columnist Keith Kelly.

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But a bankruptcy filing may be avoided if bondholders agree to take a large stake in the company in return for reducing its debt load.

A restructuring deal would turn over 95 percent of the stock to those holding the debt, leaving the old shareholders with just 5 percent of the company.

The bondholders and bankers involved in the negotiations have until Dec. 15 to reach an agreement, according to Kelly.

AMI’ s other publications include Shape, Men’s Fitness, Globe and Country Weekly. The company also owns Distribution Services Inc., the nation’s leading in-store merchandising firm.

Earlier this week the media conglomerate Tribune Co., publisher of the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and other newspapers, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.