Sinclair Broadcast Group has expressed interest in purchasing The Weather Channel from private equity groups Bain Capital and Blackstone Group and Comcast's NBC Universal, according to the Wall Street Journal, and could pony up as much as $100 million in a deal.
According to the Journal, Sinclair has been in talks with the channel for months, but those discussions have become more intense recently. While a deal could still fall through, the Journal, citing sources familiar with the companies, said a transaction could be valued at about $100 million.
While The Weather Channel is currently in about 90 million homes, it has been a target for distributors looking to cut costs. The network has been the subject of blackouts and drops over the past few years and has been criticized by some distributors in the past for concentrating more on reality programming than weather forecasting. Last year the channel made some changes, revamping its lineup and cutting back on non-weather, non-fiction programming.
Sinclair is the largest TV station group in the country with about 164 television stations in 79 markets. Earlier this year Sinclair purchased the Tennis Channel for $350 million and has been moving toward a subscription model, launching cable networks like American Sports Network and Ring of Honor.