Al-Jazeera buys Current TV

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The Al-Jazeera news network purchased the cable outlet founded by former Vice President Al Gore and intends to start a U.S.-based news channel.

Al-Jazeera, based in Qatar, announced its purchase of the San Francisco–based news channel Current TV on Jan. 3. The sale price was not disclosed, but it is estimated to be as much as $500 million.

Time Warner Cable, which reaches about 12 million homes in the United States, said later in the day that it was terminating its contract to carry Current TV.

Current also is distributed by Comcast  and DirecTV, with 22.4 million and 19.8 million subscribers, respectively, according to Reuters.

Gore, the channel’s chairman, and co-founder Joel Hyatt, the chief executive officer, will remain on the advisory board, Reuters reported.

The new Al-Jazeera channel will begin airing this year and is expected to double its U.S. staff to 300. The channel is planned to be separate from Al-Jazeera English, which airs around the world, and will present domestic and international news geared toward an American audience. Plans for Current’s San Francisco headquarters are not yet known. — jta