Al Jazeera Media Network has acquired U.S. cable channel Current TV, bringing the Middle Eastern company into closer competition with American news channels, including Time Warner Inc.’s (NYSE: TWX) CNN and News Corp.’s (Nasdaq: NWSA) Fox.
The Qatar-based network said on Thursday, Jan. 3, that the deal will result in the creation of Al Jazeera America, a U.S. news channel based in New York. Al Jazeera’s coverage will soon be available in more than 40 million U.S. households, up from 4.7 million prior to the transaction.
Financial terms of the deal are undisclosed, but the deal is reportedly worth $500 million. Current Television was set up seven years ago by former U.S. vice president Al Gore (pictured), who is currently the target’s chairman.
"Current Media was built based on a few key goals: to give voice to those who are not typically heard; to speak truth to power; to provide independent and diverse points of view; and to tell the stories that no one else is telling," Gore said in a joint statement with Current co-founder Joel Hyatt.
Al Jazeera said it is seen in more than 260 million homes across 130 countries, but has had limited access to U.S. markets. The organization plans to open additional bureaus in the U.S. It currently owns news bureaus in New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago.
Al Jazeera said its new U.S.-based news channel is slated to begin broadcasting in 2013, and would be separate from Al Jazeera English.