SAN FRANCISCO - Cable television upstart Current Media Inc. plans to go public this year, giving investors a chance to assess the entrepreneurial skills of its cofounder, Al Gore.
In documents filed yesterday, the San Francisco-based owner of the Current TV cable channel set a preliminary fund-raising target of $100 million for the initial public offering of stock. The final amount will probably change after Current Media's investment bankers gauge the demand for shares in the company.
The level of investors' interest also will help determine the price of the shares sold in the IPO. Although a specific timetable wasn't spelled out in the prospectus, Current Media said it hopes to complete the IPO by early May so it can repay a large debt due then.
Current Media is still small, with just $64 million in annual revenue, but the involvement of the former vice president and Nobel Prize winner ensures the company's IPO will attract plenty of attention.
Gore helped create Current Media in 2002 and still plays a prominent role as a major shareholder and the company's executive chairman.
Although yesterday's filing didn't provide a complete breakdown of Current Media's outstanding stock, the documents disclosed that Gore and his family own at least 3.7 million shares.
The documents stressed that Current Media considers Gore indispensable. "If Mr. Gore were no longer actively involved in our business or no longer to hold a substantial ownership stake in us, our relationships with key distributors and our business could be materially and adversely affected," the documents said.