In the mid-1990s, a cable television service that would go on to become one of the world’s most famous, the United Kingdom-based company Tenet purchased a cable channel in the United Arab Emirates for $1.2bn.
The network, which had just launched, was a prime example of the cable television revolution, in which a provider of internet access could offer a premium service for low prices.
In an age of digital video, the promise of a fast and reliable internet connection to everyone was the promise that was the future.
The promise was a great one.
And it worked.
The cable network became the world-beating success story of the digital revolution, one that many now look back on with pride.
But not for the reason Tenet was hoping.
The channel was bought at a steep discount, leaving the company with a $400m debt.
The new owner, the telecoms giant BT, was not happy.
A week later, the government of Abu Dhabi announced that the channel would be taken over by BT, a move that led to protests across the Arab world, including Bahrain.
For the next two years, the channel struggled to find a home, with its programming heavily censored.
Then in August 2000, Tenet announced it was acquiring cable provider Al Jazeera.
The move seemed to be the beginning of a long, successful run for the cable TV giant.
For months, Al Jazeera would become the face of the global digital revolution.
The next year, the world watched as the channel started to struggle financially and was forced to close its office in London, which it had been based for more than 50 years.
In the process, the network also lost its global audience.
In September, the company announced it would be laying off 10,000 people, a number that was expected to rise significantly.
A month later, Tenets shares crashed by as much as 20% amid concerns about the future of the company.
The company had invested heavily in the acquisition, which was expected by some analysts to be a huge boon to the stock price.
But a number of investors, including a number in the Middle East, questioned whether the sale was a wise move for the company, with some analysts arguing that Tenet could not afford to make a profit from the deal.
This, in turn, raised questions about the sustainability of the channel.
Tenet has since closed its Dubai office, but its London office remains open, as it did before the sale.
Al Jazeera is now based in Dubai, but will be relocating to the US in 2019, where it will take over a cable network owned by the Cablevision network, known as Cogent.
The UK government has been keen to get its hands on Al Jazeera’s assets.
The BBC’s Middle East Service has been given a licence to broadcast from the new US embassy in London.
In 2018, the UK government made an application to Tenet to take over the network, but Tenet had declined.
The government is now considering a number proposals, including one that would give Tenet exclusive rights to the channel’s content and would allow it to be sold to the highest bidder.
The latest bid to buy Al Jazeera has received considerable attention in the UK, as the British Government has been in talks with a number media companies about buying the broadcaster.
The British government is currently examining the possibility of selling Al Jazeera to a foreign company, the Financial Times reported.
The newspaper said it was hopeful that the bid could be approved by the government and was confident that the broadcaster would remain in the country.
With reporting by Al Jazeera Arabic and The National