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Gore's Current TV sold to Al Jazeera for $500m: Time Warner opts out

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By Noel Young | Correspondent

January 3, 2013 | 3 min read

Current TV, the network co-founded by former US Vice President Al Gore, has reportedly been sold for about $500 million to Al Jazeera, the cable news channel owned by the Qatar Government.

Gore: sells to Al Jazeera

The sale was reported by Bloomberg, citing two people with knowledge of the deal.

Gore and his partners are said to have paid just one-eighth that amount - $60 million - for Current TV's predecessor in 2004.

Gore, chairman, and Joel Hyatt, a co-founder and chief executive officer, announced the sale yesterday in a statement, but did not give financial details.

“We are proud and pleased that Al Jazeera, the award- winning international news organization, has bought Current TV,” they said .

Al Jazeera will replace existing shows with its own this year, according to a statement from the buyer. The move expands its U.S. footprint beyond the pay-TV providers that carry the programming.

Current TV, a news and opinion channel, reaches almost 60 million U.S. homes. Al Jazeera, whose English network started in 2006, now reaches 250 million households in 130 countries, according to its website.

The new channel will be based in New York . Al Jazeera’s U.S. payroll will double to more than 300, the network said.

Current TV generated $16.3 million on revenue of $108 million last year, according to the media research firm SNL Kagan.

The $500 million price “sounds high,”Derek Baine, a cable analyst with SNL Kagan told Bloomberg. “It’s a pretty risky deal for them.”

Some pay-TV systems may not carry the new Al Jazeera channel. Already Time Warner ,second-biggest U.S. cable company, has said it will stop carrying Current TV with the ownership change.

“Our agreement with Current has been terminated and we will no longer be carrying the service,” Time Warner Cable, based in New York, said in an e-mailed statement.

“We are removing the service as quickly as possible.”

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