Updated: Thursday, 03 January 2013 09:42 | By Agence France-Presse

Al-Jazeera acquires Gore-founded TV group

Al-Jazeera has acquired Current TV, a struggling cable channel that will nonetheless give it the access to millions of US homes which it has long sought, according to The New York Times.

Al-Jazeera acquires Gore-founded TV group

Al-Jazeera acquires Gore-founded TV group

Terms of the deal for Current, which was founded by US former vice president Al Gore, were not immediately disclosed, but Forbes reported that a possible value of $400 million could net Gore a tidy $100 million.

It also should give Qatar-based Al-Jazeera vastly broader entry into US homes; Current at the moment is available in around 60 million American households, Wednesday's report said.

"Al-Jazeera is planning to invest significantly in building 'Al-Jazeera America,' a network focused on international news for the American audience," the Current chief executive Joel Hyatt said in an e-mail to staff late Wednesday, the report said.

"Al (Gore) and I will both serve on the advisory board of Al-Jazeera America, and we look forward to helping build an important news network," he added, according to the Times.

Contacted by AFP, Current Media did not immediately respond to the report.

The Times said Al-Jazeera was expected to create a new channel instead of using its existing English-language vehicle Al-Jazeera English.

It would produce around 60 percent of its programming in the United States and draw the rest from Al-Jazeera English, the report said.

The plan could put the broadcaster financed by the government of Qatar into closer competition with CNN and other news channels in the United States, according to The Times, which noted that Al-Jazeera is offered only by a handful of US cable and satellite distributors.

Current Media, founded in 2005, operates Current TV, reaches households in Britain and the United States, and a youth-focused website Current.com, where users can submit their own content.

Founded by Gore and businessman Hyatt, Current has won two Emmy Awards and other honors. It reaches 71 million households worldwide.

But The Times said a sale was considered because of low ratings, with an average of just 42,000 people watching the channel last year.


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