Current sets IPO to bulk up int'l presence

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Current Media, the company co-founded by Al Gore, is seeking to raise as much as $100 million in an initial public offering to beef up the company's advertising sales and international presence.

Gore, who is chairman, founded Current in August 2005 along with Joel Hyatt, the company's CEO.

In a filing Monday, the pair reported that their company took in $63.8 million in revenue last year, up 68% from 2006, with 84% of that coming from affiliate sales and the remainder from advertising. The company lost $9.9 million last year and expects to lose more money as it reinvests in the business.

The company also said it plans on repaying $34.5 million in debt with proceeds from the IPO.

While co-founded by a former Democratic presidential candidate, Current promotes itself as nonpartisan, with much of its content coming from its viewers, mostly by way of seven-minute nonfiction "pods" that creators upload to the site in hopes that it will make it to the TV channel. The site and TV channel target the 18-34 demographic.

News of Current's desire for an IPO came the same day that Bloomberg reported that 25 companies worldwide withdrew or postponed their IPOs this month because of problems with the credit market and concerns that the U.S. economy might be in recession or enter one shortly.

While Current said the TV channel is available in 51 million households in the U.S, U.K. and Ireland, it's difficult to gauge how popular its content is because the TV channel chooses not to be rated by Nielsen Media Research, which is owned by the Nielsen Co., parent company of The Hollywood Reporter.

Last year, Current.com did not receive a large enough unique audience to be counted for the first 10 months, according to Nielsen// NetRatings. In November, it boasted 785,000 unique visitors, with 361,000 in December.
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