IBM has struck a deal to acquire The Weather Company’s B2B, mobile and cloud-based web properties, including WSI, weather.com, Weather Underground and The Weather Company brand.
Financial terms were not disclosed, but the TV segment – The Weather Channel – will not be acquired by IBM, but will license weather forecast data and analytics from IBM under a long-term contract.
IBM said the deal will “serve as the foundation for the new Watson IoT Unit and Watson IoT Cloud platform,” expanding on a $3 billion commitment made by IBM in March 2015. IBM said Weather Company’s cloud data platform handles 26 billion inquiries each day, and that the platform will enable IBM to more rapidly collect and analyze global data that can be applied to Watson. Weather Company’s models, IBM said, analyze data from 3 billion weather forecast “reference points,” more than 40 million smartphones and 50,000 airplane flights per day, underpinning data-driven products for more than 5,000 clients.
The deal comes after The Weather Company said earlier this year that it would shift its weather data services platform that powers its B2B division to the IBM Cloud.
“We see the next wave of improved forecasting coming from the intersection of atmospheric science, computer science and analytics,” said David Kenny, chairman and CEO, The Weather Company. “Upon closing of this deal, The Weather Company will continue to be able to help improve the precision of weather forecasts and further deepen IBM’s Watson IoT capabilities by enabling the integration of global atmosphere and weather insights with enterprise information to create disruptive industry solutions that optimize decision-making.”
The Weather Channel, meanwhile, will continue to operate independently.
"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,” Dave Shull, CEO of The Weather Channel Television Network, said in a 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."