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Weather Company's Digital Assets Acquired by Francisco

 Weather Company's Digital Assets Acquired by Francisco
Published 9 months ago on Aug 22, 2023

The acquisition, announced on Tuesday, marks the conclusion of IBM's ownership of The Weather Company's digital products since 2016. This transaction ushers in a standalone chapter for the renowned weather brand, and the deal is expected to be finalized in the early months of next year.

The financial details of the transaction have not been publicly disclosed at this time. The Weather Company's assets, which include popular platforms such as the Weather Channel app and the flagship Weather.com website, will now be under the ownership and stewardship of Francisco Partners, a private equity firm with a history of strategic investments.

IBM's decision to divest The Weather Company's digital assets comes as the technology giant repositions itself as a hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) company. Rob Thomas, Senior Vice President of Software and Chief Commercial Officer at IBM, emphasized this evolution, stating, "Over the last few years, we’ve evolved IBM to be a hybrid cloud and AI company." This pivot in IBM's strategic focus has led to the decision to divest assets that are not aligned with its core offering.

This transaction marks the culmination of a series of ownership changes for The Weather Company. Before its acquisition by IBM, The Weather Company was under the ownership of a consortium of private equity firms, namely The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital, along with Comcast's NBCUniversal. This consortium acquired The Weather Company's assets in 2008 from Landmark Communications for a reported price of $3.5 billion.

It's important to note that the digital assets being acquired by Francisco Partners are distinct from The Weather Channel's linear TV network. The TV network, which retains the name The Weather Channel, was sold by a consortium led by Blackstone, Bain Capital, and NBCUniversal to Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios in 2018 for approximately $300 million. Under this agreement, The Weather Channel TV brand continued to license data from IBM's Weather assets.

With the acquisition of The Weather Company's digital assets, Francisco Partners is poised to expand the brand's content footprint, focusing on enhancing the user experience and introducing targeted advertising strategies. The Weather Company's flagship website, Weather.com, ranks among the most visited sites in the U.S., occupying a prominent position in the science and education category. In July alone, the website recorded over 1.3 billion visits, as reported by Similar Web, a software analytics firm.

Francisco Partners has expressed its commitment to drive growth through increased investments and resources for The Weather Company. The aim is to move beyond traditional weather forecasting and offer users new tools and experiences that shed light on how weather impacts various aspects of their lives, beginning with health and well-being. As The Weather Company embarks on this new phase under the guidance of Francisco Partners, industry watchers and weather enthusiasts alike await the innovative developments that will shape the brand's future.

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