Al Gore and Partners to Buy Cable Network
By J. Max Robins
It appears former Vice President Al Gore is about to make his dream of a liberal cable news network a reality.
According to sources close to negotiations, Gore is part of a group of investors who have reached agreement with Vivendi Universal to buy Newsworld International (NWI), a cable channel that reaches less than 20 million homes. The plan is to convert NWI into a progressive news and informational channel that would counter-balance the perceived conservatism of cable news leader Fox News Channel. The deal could be announced as early as today.
The price tag on the deal has been placed around $70 million. A key backer of the project is former Democratic National Convention finance co-chairman Joel Hyatt, co-founder of Hyatt Legal Services. Investment banker Steven Rattner, head of the Quadrangle Group, also a prominent Democratic fundraiser, is involved with the deal, as well.
The buyers have yet to announce a management team.
The Gore group's deal to purchase NWI is separate from NBC's soon-to-be completed deal with Vivendi Universal to buy its other entertainment properties, including Universal Studios, USA Network, the Sci Fi Channel and TRIO.