* JPMorgan, Raine Group hired to assess options-source
* Seeking new found of funding-source
* Company says has been approached by interested buyers
By Ronald Grover
LOS ANGELES, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Current TV, the liberal cable news channel started by former Vice President Al Gore, has hired JP Morgan and The Raine Group to assess strategic options that may include a sale or strategic partnership with another media company, according to a person with knowledge of the operation.
The channel, founded in 2005 by Gore and businessman Joel Hyatt, is also seeking new funding and talking with venture capitalists and other parties, the person said on condition of anonymity because the talks were private.
“Current has been approached many times by media companies interested in acquiring our company,” Hyatt said in a statement provided by the company.
“This year alone, we have had three inquiries. As a consequence, we thought it might be useful to engage expertise to help us evaluate our strategic options.”
The New York Post first reported that Current TV was seeking a buyer.
The channel withdrew a planned initial public offering in 2009, and raised venture capital instead to supplement funds already provided by Hyatt, co-founder of Hyatt Legal Services.
Hyatt is Current’s chief executive. Gore is its chairman.
After a series of programming changes, Current TV programming includes a lineup of talk shows hosted by former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer, former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, and other Democratic politicians.
In March, Current TV fired commentator Keith Olbermann after what it described as a difference in “values.” It has since hired California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom to host a weekly show.