Current TV was sold to Al Jazeera for about $500 million, two people with knowledge of the deal told Bloomberg. Gore and partners paid about $71 million in 2004 for the channel that became Current TV. Gore, chairman, and Joel Hyatt, co-founder and CEO announced the sale Wednesday without providing terms. The deal gives Qatar-based Al Jazeera access to the biggest U.S. pay-TV carriers but Current’s viewership needs to increase significantly. Current averaged about 42,000 nightly primetime viewers last quarter, according to Horizon Media Inc. SNL Kagan cable analyst Derek Baine said the $500M price “sounds high”. Current TV’s owners had raised a total of $153 million including debt, according to NY-based research firm PrivCo.
Separately, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm said yesterday on Facebook she will be leaving Current when her contract is up. Granholm, a Democrat who served two terms, said her agreement covered the election through the transition period and she plans to pursue other interests.