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Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Ltd. said Thursday it had agreed to sell Star magazine for $400 million in cash and stock to the publisher of its saucy rival, The National Enquirer.

The would-be buyer, G.P. Group Inc., said it plans to ``maintain the Star's editorial independence' and would continue to publish it from the magazine's current location in Tarrytown.The agreement comes nearly a year after G.P. Group itself was acquired by a partnership led by the romance magazine publisher Macfadden Holdings for $412.5 million.

The sale would solidify G.P. Group's franchise in the supermarket checkout aisles, as it also publishes a third sensationalist tabloid, Weekly World News.

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