About a month after Al Gore and his partner, businessman Joel Hyatt, filed suit in a Delaware Court claiming Al Jazeera America jilted them out of $65 million stemming from the purchase of Current TV, the news network has responded, calling the former U.S. Vice President action a desperate attempt to added to the “hundreds of millions of dollars" already paid for the network.
Gore sold Current TV to Qatar-based Al Jazeera in January 2013 for about $500 million, at the time a price that was thought to be well above the sparsely-watched channels worth.
In a lawsuit in August, Gore claimed that Al Jazeera had placed about $85 million of the purchase price in escrow to satisfy indemnification obligation of the sellers. The suit claied the escrow account currently has about $65 million, which was supposed to be returned to the Current TV owners after the escrow period expired on July 2, 2014. So far, neither Gore nor Hyatt has received any of those funds.
In a statement, Al Jazeera said the escrow account was established to indemnify the network for claims made against it as a result of actions by Current TV when it was managed by Gore and Hyatt.
According to a report in the International Business Times, Al Jazeera America claims that Gore and Hyatt had not lived up to their end of the deal – apparently they assured the network that Current TV’s carriage deals were in compliance when some had been terminated. According to IBT, Al Jazeera was especially upset about the loss of Time Warner Cable, which dropped the network after it changed hands in January 2013, but later reinstated it.
“No one should feel concerned for the plaintiffs, as Vice-President Gore, Joel Hyatt and their associates have already received hundreds of millions from the sale of Current TV,” said DLA Piper partner Andrew Deutsch, representing Al Jazeera America in a statement. “The remainder of the sales price is held in escrow, and Al Jazeera America is entitled to be indemnified from that money for claims arising from Gore and Hyatt’s management of Current.”