Byron Allen continues to expand his Entertainment Studios media portfolio with the purchase of the basic cable television network The Weather Channel. Through his company Allen Media, Allen acquired The Weather Group, parent company of The Weather Channel television network and streaming service Local Now, from The Blackstone Group, Bain Capital and Comcast / NBCUniversal.
No dollar figures were revealed, but sources said the purchase price was around $ 300 million.
“The Weather Channel is one of the most trusted and important cable networks, with information of vital importance to the safety and protection of our lives,” said Allen, Founder, President and CEO of Entertainment Studios . “We host The Weather Channel, which has been seen in American homes for almost four decades, in our Cable Television Networks division. The acquisition of The Weather Channel is strategic, as we begin our process of investing billions of dollars over the next five years to acquire some of the world’s best media assets.
Allen, a comedian turned entrepreneur, developed his entertainment studios, which became the largest independent producer of first-run syndicated programming. In 2009, Allen launched six 24-hour HD television networks: Pets.TV, Comedy.TV, Recipe.TV, Cars.TV, ES.TV and MyDestination.TV.
In recent years he has also become an independent film producer and distributor by acquiring Freestyle Releasing in 2015. His recent film successes include 47 meters lower and Scott Cooper Hostiles, and her 2018 photos via Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures include purchases from the Toronto Film Festival Chappaquiddick and Replicas.
With the acquisition of The Weather Channel and Local Now, Allen expands into live and local cable news. The Entertainment Studios divisions now include television syndication, production and distribution of over 41 programs; eight 24/7 cable television networks; production, acquisition and distribution of motion pictures; acquisition and distribution of digital films; and global news publishing – making Entertainment Studios one of the world’s largest private media companies.
Entertainment Studios is 100% owned by Allen, who started the business from his dining room table 25 years ago.
Bain, Blackstonel and NBCU bought The Weather Company from Landmark Communications in 2008 for around $ 3.5 billion before selling the company’s digital assets for over $ 2 billion to IBM in 2015, including the popular website Weather.com, which goes by the name of the Weather Channel.
The Weather Channel is widely distributed, available in approximately 88 million US homes. Like most basic cable channels, it had to cope with audience drops due to cable cuts. Despite partial ownership of NBCU, Weather Channel faced challenges as a stand-alone linear network with limited leverage in distribution negotiations with distributors, and faced competition from rival AccuWeather. The linear weather channel has also been affected by people’s growing reliance on the Internet and mobile devices for weather updates.
The Weather Channel had already gone on sale. In 2016, Sinclair Broadcast Group was reportedly in talks with its owners, offering to acquire the channel for $ 100 million.
Following the acquisition by NBCU, Bain and Blackstone, The Weather Channel experimented with longer programming and renowned talent, such as Today’s Al Roker and Hello america‘s Sam Champion, before recently refocusing on his bread and butter prediction-based range.
“We are thrilled to join Entertainment Studios and are especially proud to be part of one of the world’s largest emerging media companies,” said Dave Shull, CEO of The Weather Channel. “Byron Allen’s purchase of our innovative and forward-thinking organization will increase the value we bring to our viewers, distributors and advertisers. “
Allen’s acquisition of The Weather Channel through its wholly owned Allen Media LLC was represented by the law firms Sklar Kirsh, Nelson Mullins and Loeb & Loeb. The Weather Channel was represented in the transaction by law firms Ropes & Gray and Jones Day, and its financial advisers included Morgan Stanley, Allen & Company and PJT Partners.