Monday, July 7, 2008

G.E.'s Master Plan: Weather Channel Is Sold to NBC and Equity Firms

If you recall, the Weather Channel's Heidi Cullen* got the blogshere amped up in late 2006 with this post on her blog:
"...If a meteorologist can't speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the AMS shouldn't give them a Seal of Approval."

From the New York Times:

An investor group led by NBC Universal and two private equity firms clinched a deal for the Weather Channel on Sunday after three weeks of negotiations.

Though the parties did not disclose the price, the buyers, NBC and the private equity firms Bain Capital and the Blackstone Group, will pay just under $3.5 billion, people briefed on the matter said.

That is less than the $5 billion that the Weather Channel’s parent, Landmark Communications, sought when it put the basic cable channel and related properties like up for sale in January.

In a sign of the weaker debt markets that have clamped down on large private equity deals, more than half of the price will be paid in equity, to be divided roughly equally among the three buyers, these people said.

The deal was mostly wrapped up shortly after June 13, when Time Warner, the only other remaining bidder, dropped out.

Though not the flashiest property, the 26-year-old Weather Channel is the leading brand of weather information on television, reaching 96 million households on basic cable, according to Landmark....MORE

*Here's Dr. Cullen's interview with NPR's "On the Media":

The Weather Channel, long a stalwart of straight-ahead weather reporting, has decided to start comprehensively following the story of climate change. The channel’s resident climatologist Heidi Cullen argues that all TV meteorologists should integrate climate change science into every weather report....

And here is her interview with Grist:

If You Don't Like the Climate, Wait a Minute

The Weather Channel's climate ace chats about Katrina and sexing up global warming