Two Fronts In Weather Forecast


The auction for The Weather Channel is heating up again, with Time Warner and NBC Universal now emerging as the front runners for the cable network.

Bids for the network — expected to be between $3.5 billion and $4 billion — were due last Friday. Time Warner, which stands to reap $9.25 billion in cash from the spinoff of its Time Warner Cable unit later this year, has renewed its interest in the channel, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. NBC Universal, long thought to be in the running for the network, has paired up with private-equity giant The Blackstone Group in its bid, the Journal said.

The Weather Channel went on the block in January, with owner Landmark Communications reportedly asking for as much as $5 billion for the network and its Web site. Early front-runners in the bidding were CBS — which already has a relationship with the network to provide weather information to its broadcast stations — NBC and Liberty Media. CBS, according to some people familiar with the auction process, dropped out after it agreed to purchase online purveyor CNET for $1.8 billion.