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NBC Universal Buys Weather Channel

Jul 6, 2008  •  Post A Comment

NBC Universal, along with private equity firms Bain Capital and the Blackstone Group, have agreed to acquire the Weather Channel from Landmark Communications almost a month after they became the exclusive bidders.
The announcement of a definitive agreement Sunday afternoon did not disclose financial terms, but NBCU had been reported to be willing to pay nearly $3.5 billion.
That’s well short of the $5 billion Landmark had hoped to get for the widely distributed, 26-year-old cable Weather Channel and its companion Web site. The Web site is considered to be the most valuable component of the package with traffic of nearly 40 million unique visitors every month.
Also changing hands in the deal are the Weather Channel’s mobile business and Weather Services International, a global forecasting business with more than 5,500 clients.
The transaction, subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed by the end of 2008, according to the announcement.
The deal is expected to provide a mother lode of synergies with NBCU’s wide array of broadcast, cable and Internet properties. The Weather Channel assets will be operated as a separated entity based in Atlanta.
“This will further position NBC Universal as the leading provider of news, information and weather, both online and on television,” NBCU President and CEO Jeff Zucker said in the announcement. Joining with the Weather Channel properties plays to our strengths in developing and programming cable networks, and in producing and distributing high-quality content across multiple platforms.”
Still to be learned is what the acquisition of the Weather Channel properties will mean for NBC Weather Plus and its related Web site, the four-year-old digital joint venture owned by NBC and its affiliated local stations. The affiliates were apprised of the possible purchase of the Weather Channel, NBC Universal said.
The announcement said the addition of Weather.com will give NBC Universal and its affiliated Web sites a total unduplicated reach of nearly 70 million visitors per month, ranking No. 7 against all U.S.-based Internet properties.
(Editor: Baumann)

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