Buying a legacy? Al Jazeera after NYT’s former offices

Pillars of law: How new constitutions of Egypt and Tunisia measure up. (AFP)

Al Jazeera is on the hunt for a bigger HQ in New York, after paying $500 million for a small TV network in a bid to boost its U.S. presence.

The Qatari broadcaster has looked at the iconic former New York Times building as part of its search, and has appointed the real-estate services firm CBRE to assist, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Sources close to Al Jazeera confirmed the broadcaster was on the lookout for a New York headquarters. “They’re looking for a building, and have a range of options,” a source told Al Arabiya.

Al Jazeera representatives could not immediately provide a comment.

The former New York Times building, occupying a prime site on West 43rd Street, is one of several spaces to be considered by the Doha-based broadcaster, which is currently renting temporary studio space nearby, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Qatari broadcaster said in January it would buy Current TV, which was cofounded by former American vice-president Al Gore in 2005, for $500 million.

The left-leaning Current TV had a prime-time audience of just 42,000 in the fourth quarter of 2012, and the acquisition by Al Jazeera was widely viewed to be about gaining distribution in more U.S. homes.

The broadcaster plans to scrap the Current TV station and replace it with a channel called Al Jazeera America, which will be based in New Year and begin broadcasting later this year.

Al Jazeera was last month advertising 98 job openings in New York prior to the launch of the new station.

Matthew Reed, a principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media in Dubai, in January told Al Arabiya that Al Jazeera’s acquisition of Current TV was “quite a risky move.”

“There are some negative perceptions about Al Jazeera in some quarters of the U.S.,” Mr Reed said.

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Last Update: Saturday, 30 March 2013 KSA 15:08 - GMT 12:08
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