IBM today was putting the finishing touches on an acquisition of The Weather Company, which owns the cable and satellite channel The Weather Channel. But the channel quickly sent out word that it will stand alone and is not part of the sale.
In a statement released today, Dave Shull, CEO of The Weather Channel, said: “The Weather Channel will continue to be owned and supported by our existing shareholders — Bain Capital, Blackstone and NBCUniversal — and operate as a standalone business.”
CNN was reporting today that IBM had announced its acquisition of The Weather Company. “It is essentially buying everything except the actual TV network,” CNN reported. “IBM is taking The Weather Company’s digital assets, including the uber-popular Weather Channel mobile app, weather.com, and — most crucially for IBM — all the company’s forecasting data and technology.”
The company’s digital assets have reportedly been valued at more than $2 billion.
B&C reports that The Weather Company CEO Dave Kenny is expected to move to IBM, noting that the IBM purchase includes “The Weather Company’s B2B, mobile and cloud-based web properties, including WSI, weather.com, Weather Underground and The Weather Company brand.”
In its announcement today, IBM said: “The planned acquisition would bring together IBM’s powerful cognitive and analytics platform and The Weather Company’s dynamic cloud data platform, which powers the fourth most-used mobile app daily in the United States and handles 26 billion inquiries to its cloud-based services each day. The deal would extend the reach of IBM’s cloud data services capabilities and expand The Weather Company’s business capabilities and consumer reach on a global scale. The Weather Company’s cloud-based data platform will allow IBM to collect an even larger variety and higher velocity of global data sets, store them, analyze them and in turn distribute them and empower richer and deeper insights across the Watson platform. ”
Shull, The Weather Channel CEO, noted in his statement: “Each month, almost half of all American households tune in to The Weather Channel network for coverage of severe weather, daily forecasts, and the science behind the weather. With our world class weather experts and thousands of localized versions of the network, we are uniquely positioned to provide the world’s best storm coverage as a hyper-local streaming service as well. We are continuing to invest in our strategic partnerships with our distributors, advertisers, and emerging technology start-ups.”
Shull added: “The Weather Channel operates as a distinct and separate business with its own leadership team, which enables this to be a smooth and seamless transition. We believe a bright future lies ahead for the television business as the most trusted source of weather information.”
The media have been reporting the possible sale of The Weather Channel for months. We reported back in August that the channel had hired investment bankers to explore a sale.
The Weather Channel has been tinkering with its programming priorities, and appeared to shift its focus more toward pure weather reporting in recent months. In one high-profile move, the channel pulled the plug on Sam Champion’s morning show last month.