Gore-Backed Current TV Files For $100 Million IPO; $63.7 Million 2007 Revs; Losses Mount

imageA first look into the books of Al Gore’s cable network: Current Media (parent of Al Gore-backed Current TV) has filed for a $100 million NASDAQ IPO, trading under the ticker “CRTM”. The network, which launched in 2005, had 2007 annual revenue of $63.7 million, up 68 percent from $37.8 million in 2006. Net losses grew to $17 million, from $14.3 million. Meanwhile, the company has $2.2 million in cash on hand and $36.1 million in debt, which will be paid down upon completion of the IPO. The rest of the cash will go towards general operations. Reading through the management’s discussion and the risks section highlights Current’s challenge, as it attempts to pitch a cable channel to a crowd increasingly watching video online. While it talks about innovating in TV news and offering an integrated TV/digital platform, it also identifies as one of its key risk: “New distribution technologies may fundamentally change the way programming is distributed and our inability to adapt to them may adversely affect our business. Some highlights:…

— Institutions owning at least 5 percent of the company include Blum Capital Partners, Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa (former president Bill Clinton is unwinding his stake in that), DirectTV, and Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) CTV Holdings. As with other cable networks, some of the company’s cable partners receive equity.

— In 2007, Gore, its executive chairman, and CEO Joel Hyatt each made $1.05 million in salary and bonus. (That would be the difference between a net start-up and a new TV net.)

— Current acquired predecessor NWI for $70.9 million, entirely for its relationships with television carriers.

— The network pases a total of 51 million homes, 41 million of which are in the US.

— At the moment, Current.com is not a source of meaningful ad revenue for the company, though it expects it will be in the future.

— JPMorgan, Pacific Crest and Lehman Brothers are listed as underwriters

— There’s no information yet on the number of shares, the time-frame for the filing or its expected net proceeds after underwriting fees.


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