Corporate Owned, Government Controlled NBC and 2 Other Firms to Buy Out the Weather Channel!

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sun, 07/06/2008 - 6:36pm.

The globalists will now control what you are 'allowed' to know about the weather!  It will be no different than lies and cover-ups coming from the Middle East or anywhere around the world including the United States.  It's time to throw the TV out and stop paying the corporate media cabal for endless stories and lies.  ~ SadInAmerica

An investor group led by NBC Universal and two private equity firms clinched a deal for the Weather Channel on Sunday, after three weeks of negotiations over the sale of the weather news giant.

Though the parties did not disclose the price, the buyers - NBC and the private equity firms Bain Capital and the Blackstone Group - will pay just under $3.5 billion, people briefed on the matter said. That is less than the $5 billion that the Weather Channel's parent, Landmark Communications, sought when it put the basic cable channel and related properties like up for sale in January.

In a sign of the weaker debt markets that have clamped down on large private equity deals, more than half of the price tag will be paid for in equity, to be divided roughly equally among the three buyers, these people said.

The deal was mostly wrapped up shortly after June 13, when Time Warner, the only other remaining bidder, dropped out.

Though not the flashiest property, the 26-year-old Weather Channel is the leading brand of weather information on television, reaching 96 million households on basic cable.

Beyond the Weather Channel, the deal also includes the Web site, which attracts nearly 40 million unique users per month. It also encompasses Weather Services International, a forecasting service with more than 5,500 clients.

Under the terms of the deal, the Weather Channel will be run as an independent operation, rather than being merged into NBC's own meteorological offering, NBC Weather Plus. Built as a competitor to the Weather Channel, Weather Plus has long been seen as an also-ran, with fewer viewers and generally higher on the channel dial.

NBC will still provide management services. The buyers also intend to help expand the Weather Channel's online and mobile services.

"This will further position NBC Universal as the leading provider of news, information and weather, both online and on television," Jeff Zucker, NBC Universal's chief executive, said in a statement.

Other corporate buyers dropped out fairly early in the process, distracted by other issues. Private equity firms, which were seen as the other set of possible bidders, have been largely sidelined by the year-long dearth of cheap financing.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

The sale of the Weather Channel is part of a larger breakup of Landmark, a privately held company controlled by the Batten family of Norfolk, Va. Landmark is already seeking to sell its other holdings, like its daily newspapers. Among those are The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk and The News & Record of Greensboro, N.C.

"While we are extremely proud of how far we've come, I know that as part of the NBC Universal consortium, The Weather Channel and its employees will have increased opportunities for growth," Frank Batten Jr., Landmark's chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

Two of the biggest providers of the deal's financing are GSO Capital and Sankaty Advisors, hedge funds owned by Blackstone and Bain respectively that specialize in high-yield debt. Others financing the deal are Deutsche Bank, which was also the buyers' lead financial adviser, and General Electric's GE Commercial Finance unit.

Deutsche Bank, Allen & Company and Credit Suisse worked as the buyers' financial advisers, while Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Ropes & Gray provided legal advice.

JPMorgan Chase worked as Landmark's financial adviser, while Wilcox & Savage, Kilpatrick Stockton, Venable and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom provided legal advice.

July 6, 2008 - source 

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sun, 07/06/2008 - 6:36pm.