A senior executive at Qatar-based Al Jazeera, which has been making moves to become a player in the U.S. television market, denied reports that surfaced last week that Al Jazeera is trying to buy the Tennis Channel, the Los Angeles Times reports.
As we reported last week, Al Jazeera, which is backed by the government of Qatar, has an affiliate called beIN Sport that was believed to have its sights set on the Tennis Channel. BeIN Sport is a global network of sports channels.
But a senior executive "with knowledge of Al Jazeera’s U.S. media strategy is adamant that there is no such interest in the Tennis Channel," the Times reports.
Al Jazeera recently spent $500 million to buy Current TV from Al Gore, and is busy trying to revamp the network into a full-service news network that aims to compete with CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, the story reports.
The Times adds: “The Tennis Channel, which is owned by a group of private equity firms including Apollo Partners and Bain Capital, has never said it is for sale. However, most industry analysts think the network would be better off if it were part of a larger media company.”
The channel, which is in 35 million homes, “is engaged in a nasty legal fight with cable giant Comcast Corp. that may determine just how much interest there is in it from potential bidders,” the report notes. “Comcast is fighting an order from the Federal Communications Commission to carry the Tennis Channel in more than 20 million of its homes.”