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Current TV pulls plans for $100 million IPO

Al Gore’s SF-based Current TV, which has been making headlines because two of its employees have been taken prisoner by North Korea, is in the news today for a different reason — it is withdrawing its plans for an initial public offering to raise $100 million. In a letter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Current Media cited “current market conditions” as motivating its decision. Only two IPOs have launched so far in 2009, while 16, including, Current Media, have been canceled.

“Generally, the market conditions are improving but the advertising market is still finding its bottom right now,” said David Joyce, an analyst at Miller Tabak & Co. told Reuters.

Current TV has lost money each year since its launch, according to its most recent regulatory filing.

Two reporters for Current TV were arrested by North Korean authorities on the border with China last month. North Korea has said it intends to put the women — Euna Lee and Laura Ling — on trial for unspecified “hostile acts.”

Bloggers have reported that Current TV has been scrubbing its Web site of comments from users about the North Korean incident. One blogger, Josh Wolf, points out that such censorship is common in China and North Korea. “Current might as well set up shop in North Korea where journalism and the suppression of information go hand in hand,” Wolf wrote.

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