Adding another mainstay to its growing television and film portfolio, Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios has reached an agreement to acquire Cable’s Weather Channel in a deal valued at approximately $300 million.
Entertainment Studios is buying the Weather Group, parent company of cable company and streaming service Local Now, from Comcast and private equity giants Blackstone and Bain. This group purchased Weather Channel for $3.5 billion in July 2008. Weather Channel’s digital operations were acquired in 2015 by IBM in a deal set at around $2 billion.
“The Weather Channel is one of the most trusted and critically important cable networks, with information vitally important to keeping our lives safe and protected,” said Allen, who is chairman and CEO of Entertainment Studios. “We welcome the Weather Channel, which has been seen in American homes for nearly four decades, to our cable television networks division. The acquisition of Weather Channel is strategic, as we begin our process of investing billions of dollars over the next five years to acquire some of the best media assets in the world.
The Weather Channel, which debuted on the air in 1982, is one of cable’s best-known brands, but its linear prospects have been challenged by the ubiquitous availability of weather data via digital sources. Still, it’s a big step for Allen’s company, which already operates eight linear TV channels, including Pets.TV, Comedy.TV and Cars.TV, which target niche audiences. Weather Channel will be the most widely distributed outlet in Allen’s portfolio.
“We are thrilled to join Entertainment Studios, and we are especially proud to be part of one of the largest emerging global media companies,” said Dave Shull, CEO of Weather Channel. “Byron Allen’s purchase of our innovative, forward-thinking organization will increase the value we deliver to our viewers, distributors and advertisers.”
Allen’s Entertainment Studios has also moved aggressively into the independent film arena in recent years with the launch of Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures. Last year, the fledgling distributor saw respectable box office returns last year with thriller ’47 Meters Below’ and Western ‘Hostiles’. Allen Group is the sole owner of Entertainment Studios.