Current TV, the struggling cable news network co-founded by former Vice President Al Gore, has been sold to Qatar-based Al Jazeera. The sale is reportedly valued at close to $500 million.
“By acquiring Current TV, Al Jazeera will significantly expand our existing distribution footprint in the U.S., as well as increase our newsgathering and reporting efforts in America,” Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, director general of Al Jazeera, said in a statement.
Al Jazeera said it will shutter Current and create a New York-based network. Al Jazeera, which is financed by the government of Qatar, said it plans to expand its presence in the U.S., opening new bureaus and doubling its staff to 300 employees.
Joel Hyatt, who co-founded Current TV with former Vice President Al Gore, told staff in a Wednesday night memo that Time Warner Cable “did not consent to the sale to Al Jazeera.”
“Consequently, Current will no longer be carried on TWC,” Hyatt wrote. “This is unfortunate, but I am confident that Al Jazeera America will earn significant additional carriage in the months and years ahead.”
“Our agreement with Current has been terminated and we will no longer be carrying the service,” TWC said in a statement. “We are removing the service as quickly as possible.”
The Hollywood Reporter notes other operators are said to be exploring options to drop the channel.
The new channel dubbed Al Jazeera America will soon be available in 40 million households. The network could have reached an additional 12 million homes with the Time Warner Cable.