Al Jazeera buys Gore’s Current TV, terms undisclosed
LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Al Jazeera said on Wednesday it will buy Current TV, the struggling cable channel founded by Al Gore and partners, in a move that will boost the Qatar-based broadcaster’s footprint in the United States.
Terms were undisclosed, but analysts estimated the deal could be worth as much as $500 million.
Al Jazeera said it would start a new U.S.-based news channel with the acquisition, which will make it available in more than 40 million U.S. households, up from 4.7 million prior to the deal.
The deal brings Al Jazeera, which operates under the patronage of the emir of Qatar and his family, into closer competition with American news channels like CNN, MSNBC and Fox.
But the award-winning channel that is seen in more than 260 million homes in 130 countries faces hurdles with U.S. distributors and viewers, television industry analysts said.
Current, a liberal channel which has battled low viewership, had been distributed in about 60 million of the 100 million homes in the United States with cable or satellite service.
One of its distributors, Time Warner Cable, which accounted for about 12 million of those homes, announced late Wednesday it was terminating its carriage deal.
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