Failed presidential candidate Al Gore announced last week that he was selling Current TV, his experimental television network, to the Qatar-owned news organization Al-Jazeera.
And perhaps more ironic than the fact that Gore, a Democrat and longtime advocate of “environmental issues,” has chosen to sell his network to a company that relies on oil money is the fact that it most likely puts him in a higher income bracket than former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a member of the so-called “one percent.”
“[I]t was announced that Al Jazeera would purchase … Current TV for a reported $500 million,” Forbes’ Ryan Mac reports.
“According to a source close to the company, Gore, chairman of Current TV, owned approximately 20% of the San Francisco-based media company that he cofounded with Joel Hyatt, giving him a $100 million pre-tax payday,” he adds.
So, along with his Current TV deal, his global warming business, and various media and financial investments, a conservative estimate by Forbes puts Gore’s net worth at about $300 million, considerably more than Romney’s estimated net worth of $230 million.
“The creation and sale of Current TV is the latest of a number of Gore’s savvy business moves since leaving the White House in 2001, when one of his most valuable assets was a Tennessee farm pasture worth less than $250,000,” Mac notes.
“Along with cultivating Current, Gore, 64, joined the board of Apple in 2003 and served as a senior adviser on green issues to Google beginning in 2001, three years before the company went public,” he adds.
Obviously, these investments boosted Gore’s wealth considerably.
“As of February, Gore, who is still an Apple director, held more than $35 million in stock and options in the Cupertino, Calif. technology firm,” the Forbes report adds.
However, Google has declined to comment on Gore’s compensation and told reporters that it “no longer maintains any formal financial relationship with the former vice president.”
But wait! There’s more:
Beyond Gore’s involvement in the media business and with two of Silicon Valley’s most influential companies, a large portion of his net worth is derived from his involvement with financial services firms. A year after losing the election, Gore was named vice chairman of Metropolitan West Financial Inc., a now defunct Los Angeles-based money manager, which then had more than $50 billion in assets under management. He held that position briefly before going on to found global investment firm Generation Investment Management with former Goldman Sachs executive David Blood.
Gore still remains chairman of Generation Investment Management, a firm dedicated to an “investment philosophy that integrates sustainability research with rigorous fundamental equity analysis,” according to its website.
Sources close to the company say the London-based firm has global assets under management of nearly $7 billion, while documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission reveal investments in companies including Amazon, eBay, Colgate-Palmolive and Procter & Gamble.
“We and others have called for a more responsible form of capitalism, what we call sustainable capitalism: a framework that seeks to maximize long-term economic value by reforming markets to address real needs while integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics throughout the decision-making process,” Gore and Blood wrote for a December 2011 Wall Street Journal op-ed.
In short, with his fingers in just about every industry pie, Gore has become a highly successful businessman and has seen his personal wealth explode since his disastrous bid for the White House.
Yet, oddly enough, he has managed to avoid the anti-business, anti-profit sentiment that has swept over the country.
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