Computer giant IBM is in advanced talks with The Weather Channel Cos. concerning a purchase of its digital assets, according to a report on tech news website Re/Code.
The Weather Channel Cos. include is linear cable channel and online assets like weather.com, Weather Underground and Weather Services International. The assets have been unofficially on the block for about a year, and in August co-owners The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital hired investment bankers J.P. Morgan and PJT Partners to begin entertaining offers for the company. NBC Universal, which also owns a stake in The Weather Channel, is not expected to make a bid for the company.
According to re/code, IBM is in advanced talks with The Weather Channel, but a still could still fall apart. IBM partnered with The Weather Channel earlier this year with its WSI business-to-business initiative to provide reap-time weather data and analytics to enable communities to predict natural disasters before they happen. Re/Code said a Weather purchase could provide sophisticated weather analysis for IBM’s cloud computing initiatives like a law enforcement database it is constructing.
The Weather Channel has come under fire recently, being dropped in March by Verizon Communications’ FiOS TV service. In 2014 DirecTV dropped the channel for about three months. The network, which is available in about 100 million homes, has said it is scaling back on reality programming in favor of more weather forecasting information.
Blackstone and Bain Capital teamed with Comcast’s NBC Universal to buy the channel in 2008 for about $3.5 billion. In the second quarter, Comcast wrote down its investment in the channel to about $86 million, $250 million less than its original valuation.