NBC Universal and two partners said Sunday they have reached a deal to buy The Weather Channel from Landmark Communications, ending a drawn-out...
NEW YORK — NBC Universal and two partners said Sunday they have reached a deal to buy The Weather Channel from Landmark Communications, ending a drawn-out process that had attracted interest from several major media companies.
Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but a person familiar with the deal who insisted on anonymity said the price was $3.5 billion in cash. NBC was joined by private equity firms The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital.
In addition to The Weather Channel, which can be seen by 97 percent of U.S. cable subscribers, the deal includes related assets such as weather services for newspapers and radio stations and the widely used Web site Weather.com.
NBC Universal, a unit of General Electric, became the sole bidder for The Weather Channel last month after Time Warner dropped out. CBS and cable-industry leader Comcast had also expressed interest earlier.
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NBC already operates a digital weather and news service called NBC Weather Plus, which was launched in 2004 and would make a logical fit with The Weather Channel.
NBC and Landmark said The Weather Channel would be operated as a separate entity out of its base in Atlanta. The transaction is expected to close by year-end, pending regulatory approvals.
Deutsche Bank Securities, GE Commercial Finance, GSO Capital Partners and Sankaty Advisors will provide debt financing.
Norfolk, Va.-based Landmark, a privately held media company, put The Weather Channel up for sale in January along with its other businesses, which include The Virginian-Pilot and eight other daily newspapers. No announcement has been made about the newspapers.
The Weather Channel’s Web site has about 37 million monthly unique visitors, putting it in the top 15 Web sites, the company said.