The surprising decision to cooperate with prosecutors by long-time Donald Trump ally David Pecker was driven by financial considerations at his publishing empire, a Wall Street Journal reporter explained on Saturday.

Lukas Alpert, media reporter for the Wall Street Journal, talked with MSNBC’s David Gura while describing the economic crisis facing Pecker’s company.

"The bigger company is the American Media Inc., it's a holding company, it encompasses the National Enquirer, as it's flagship, US magazine, Life & Style, In Touch," Alpert explained.

"The whole supermarket checkout line," Gura joked.

"They actually own the newsstands -- the stand itself -- they own a lot of those as well," Alpert noted.

"This is newsstand driven, it is print -- a very fast declining segment of the media industry," he explained. "They have been in bad shape financially, they have a very large debt load, they are close to a billion dollars in debt. They just acquired new publications and they are in the middle of a big refinancing."

Alpert concluded that an indictment could have destroyed the publications.

"Right now they are actually on the market trying to raise more debt to pay off some of the old debt and roll the ball along," Alpert reported. "This is what David Pecker is really good at, he has been doing this for 20 years now with this company, kind of keeping that debt ball rolling."

"So if he is indicted in the middle of all this, it's very likely that the company collapses," he concluded. "It would be very hard for them to continue."