Current TV and Current Taxes

As discussed yesterday on Ricochet, Al Gore will make a handsome sum by selling his flagging cable network, Current TV, to Al Jazeera. According to The New York Times, however, the former vice president may have suffered, at least, one disappointment in the deal.

Mr. Gore and his partners were eager to complete the deal by Dec. 31, lest it be subject to higher tax rates that took effect on Jan. 1, according to several people who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. But the deal was not signed until Wednesday.

No one should fault Gore for trying to take advantage of lower rates. In fact, we should thank him for this reminder: Apparently tax rates do influence business decisions.

  1. Jonathan Horn
    C

    I am always one step behind the great Mollie Hemingway. I post my piece, and I see hers is already there.

  2. Mollie Hemingway
    Jonathan Horn: I am always one step behind the great Mollie Hemingway. I post my piece, and I see hers is already there. · 4 minutes ago

    Ain’t no thang! I imagine many of us will be cracking jokes about this for some time.

    Jonathan Horn: Apparently tax rates do influence business decisions. · · 7 minutes ago

    But that can’t be. Warren Buffet assured us that tax rates don’t influence business decisions.

  3. Israel P.

    Curious to know what was the sticking point that prevented the tax savings.  Must have been significant.

  4. Pseudodionysius
    Israel P.: Curious to know what was the sticking point that prevented the tax savings.  Must have been significant. · 1 minute ago

    Loss carryforwards or carrybacks? Just guessing.

  5. Jim Chase

    $100 million payout from the sale, all for the lock-box I’m sure.  What’s the exchange rate for carbon credits?

  6. EJHill

    If Al Gore and Joel Hyatt (G&H) are pocketing any profit from this deal I would be shocked.

    A few years back, Current tried to raise money through an IPO and had to withdraw it for lack of interest. The financial statements that they filed with the SEC showed that they were barely below the break-even mark. (Losing tens of thousands as opposed to losing millions.)

    In 2005 G&H bought News World International from Vivendi and the CBC for the same reason that Al Jazeera is buying it now – existing cable slots. 

    After Current’s original programming model of user-generated content failed miserably, they overcompensated wildly. At one point the network had over 200 producers on its payroll. When that strategy failed they “invested” in Keith Olbermann.  It also meant that they needed NYC studio space because they were now entering the world of live production. And all of that ended in a huge, messy divorce with a law suit and a counter suit.

    It has been one costly mistake after the other.

    (Time-Warner Cable has already announced that they’re dropping Current and will not carry its replacement.)

  7. Roberto
    EJHill: In 2005 G&H boughtNews World International from Vivendi and the CBC for the same reason that Al Jazeera is buying it now – existing cable slots…

    It has been one costly mistake after the other.

    (Time-Warner Cable has already announced that they’re droppingCurrentand will not carry its replacement.)

    It would be amusing if Al Jazeera ended up paying millions for effectively nothing. Is there any indication that Comcast, Direct or Dish might follow suit?

  8. CygnusA81

    “No one should fault Gore for trying to take advantage of lower rates. In fact, we should thank him for this reminder: Apparently tax rates do influence business decisions. ”

    I can’t ‘thank’ him for showing us his hypocrisy. At the end of the day its just  hypocrisy and the Left will grumble and that’s it. They will still clamber for higher rates while people like Gore make off with millions while peddling their snake oil.  It’s just depressing.

  9. EJHill
    Roberto  Is there any indication that Comcast, Direct or Dish might follow suit? 

    It depends. Current‘s contract with TWC had a ratings clause in it and the network fell below that mark months ago. The cable company is not bound to carry Current‘s successor, especially since Al Jazeera is not going to be a ratings juggernaught either.

    I am certainly not privy to the contract terms between the network and other carriers.

    This purchase is problematic on a couple of levels. One, Current does not have an HD signal. Two, its a higher tiered channel on a lot of systems, including AT&T U-Verse.

    I do find it ironic that Gore wouldn’t take Glenn Beck’s offer but would take carbon-soaked petrol dollars for it.