TV magnate pays $300 million for The Weather Channel

March 23, 2018 GMT

Byron Allen, the CEO and founder of Entertainment Studios, is expanding his media holdings with the acquisition of The Weather Channel from an ownership group of The Blackstone Group, Bain Capital and Comcast/NBCUniversal.

The purchase price was put at $300 million, several media outlets reported.

The selling group purchased The Weather Channel for $3.5 billion in 2008. Its digital operations were acquired in 2015 by IBM in a deal pegged at around $2 billion, according to reports.

Allen, a familiar face as a comedian and TV host, established the privately held Entertainment Studios in 1993 and has since seen it grow into one of the largest independent producers and distributors of film and television programs in the United States. It has 41 shows on the air and owns eight 24-hour high-definition cable television networks reaching nearly 160 million subscribers nationwide, according to the company.

In purchasing The Weather Group through Allen Media LLC, Entertainment Studios deepens its live and local cable news offerings. It is also the company’s latest move to expand its programming and content reach.

The current ES divisions include broadcast television syndication, production and distribution of more than 41 programs, eight 24/7 cable television networks, theatrical motion picture production, acquisition and distribution, digital movie acquisition and distribution and global news publishing.

In 2015, Entertainment Studios purchased Freestyle Releasing and later renamed it Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures, which released the shark thriller “47 Meters Down” and the Western “Hostiles” in 2017.

The Weather Channel, which debuted in 1982, is one of the largest cable television networks not owned by a major conglomerate, and ranks No. 1 among the weather news providers, according to a news release from the Entertainment Studios.

“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, whose company is based in Los Angeles.

“We welcome The Weather Channel, which has been seen in American households for nearly four decades, to our cable television networks division,” he added. “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,” Shull said.