Byron Allen is out here making major money moves.
His Entertainment Studios has acquired The Weather Channel for an estimated $300 million.
The Weather Channel, which began airing on linear TV in 1982, offers local and national storm updates along with programming series such as American Super/Natural, morning show AMHQ, Highway Thru Hell, Hurricane 360 and So You Think You’d Survive? In 2017, as hurricanes and fires dominated headlines, ratings for the channel rose 14 percent to an average 248,000 primetime viewers.
The TV network had been owned by Blackstone, Bain and NBCU since 2008, when that group had acquired the channel from Landmark Communications for a reported price tag near $3.5 billion. At the time, the channel was one of the most distributed in the U.S.
Notably, Allen’s deal does not include digital assets such as Weather.com, Weather Underground and its Weather Channel app, which were acquired by IBM’s The Weather Company division in January 2016. (The Weather Company web offerings draw a sizable audience, with 117,755,000 U.S. unique visitors, according to comScore’s February 2018 report.)
“The Weather Channel is one of the most trusted and extremely important cable networks, with information vitally important to the safety and protection of our lives,” said Allen. “We welcome The Weather Channel, which has been seen in American households for nearly four decades, to 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 best media assets around the world.”
“We are excited 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 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.”
With the addition of the network, Entertainment Studios will own eight linear television channels focused on lifestyle topics, including pets, recipes and cars. Allen has also been active in the film and television acquisition space, snapping up acclaimed films like Christian Bale’s Western Hostiles and Ted Kennedy biopic Chappaquiddick and planning a sequel to breakout indie shark thriller 47 Meters Down.
Now THAT’s a big acquisition!