NBC Universal has led a $3.2 billion (€2.01 billion) purchase of The Weather Channel as part of a consortium with venture capitalists Bain Capital and Blackstone. It follows an auction in which Time Warner also bid for the Landmark Communications-owned operation that includes both the third most distributed cable network in the US, as well as the country’s leading weather website.
Private equity will be funding around $2 billion of the deal, largely underwritten by Deutsche Bank and GE Capital, a far greater proportion than the kind of deals that were taking place at the height of the market.
Weather Channel will continue to be run out of its Atlanta headquarters, with NBC Universal managing the operation, though a questionmark must now hang over NBC’s five-year old channel Weather Plus.
Regulatory approval is still required with the transaction expected to complete before the end of the year.