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Current TV Seeks $100M IPO

Current Media, the San Francisco-based independent youth-oriented cable network founded by former Vice President Al Gore and entrepreneur Joel Hyatt, is testing the waters of the public markets, filing documents Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a $100 million initial public offering of stock.

Current did not reveal how much stock it would offer, at what price or the timing of the IPO. That should be revealed in later filings.

Current was founded by Gore and Hyatt after the two purchased Newsworld International from Vivendi Universal Entertainment in 2004. According to the prospectus, it launched its cable network Current TV in August 2005 to 19 million households and currently is available in about 51 million homes in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland. The network has carriage deals with DirecTV Group, Dish Network, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and AT&T.

Current, which also operates a Web site – – had revenue of $63.8 million in 2007, according to the prospectus, up from $37.9 million in 2006. The company reported a net loss of $9.9 million in 2007.

Current has chosen a curious time to test the stock market – the Dow Jones Industrial Average has plunged by more than 800 points since the beginning of the year in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage crisis and fears of a coming recession. Current said that it plans to use the proceeds from the IPO to pay off $36.5 million in debt and will use the remainder for general corporate purposes, including acquisitions. 

Current plans to list its stock on the Nasdaq exchange under the symbol “CRTM.”

JP Morgan, Pacific Crest Securities and Lehman Bros. are serving as underwriters for the IPO.