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The Wall Street Journal reports a deal is in the works between IBM and Weather Co., owner of The Weather Channel.
IBM would acquire the company’s digital and data assets–but not the cable network–in a deal valued at more than $2 billion. The deal could be announced as early as Wednesday, the WSJ reports.
In September, The Weather Channel announced layoffs and sweeping changes to the network’s programming lineup, including the end of Sam Champion‘s morning show. The final AMHQ airs Friday. Champion is expected to host a new prime time show for the network in the new year.
The network previously cancelled the Al Roker show, Wake Up With Al, citing the high cost of production in New York. From the WSJ:
Weather Co. is owned by a consortium that includes private-equity firms Bain Capital LLC and Blackstone Group LP, and Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal. They bought the company in 2008 for roughly $3.5 billion.
Weather Co. Chief Executive David Kenny is expected to join IBM after the deal closes, according to one of the people.
Weather Co. had courted various types of potential buyers. More than a year ago, Google Inc. was offered the chance to bid on the Weather Channel’s digital assets but the company wasn’t interested, according to a person familiar with the matter.
In April, Comcast made a quarterly regulatory filing that valued its stake in the Weather Channel at $86 million–down from $336 million at the end of 2014. That move raised questions about whether any sale of the company would include The Weather Channel, or exclusively the company’s digital products.