Comedian and producer Byron Allen acquired the Weather Channel TV network as he looks to expand his film and TV production company into a major media business.
Allen’s Entertainment Studios Inc. bought the network from Blackstone Group, Bain Capital and Comcast Corp., according to a statement Thursday. The price was approximately $300 million, according to a person familiar with the terms who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly and asked not to be identified. That’s a fraction of what the larger company sold for a decade ago.
The deal includes the famous cable TV network, but not online assets such as the website Weather.com and related mobile apps, which were acquired by International Business Machines Corp. in January 2016. In an interview on a day in which rain and snow blanketed much of the U.S., Allen said he was attracted to the reach and familiarity of the brand.
“Snowstorms, rain, mudslides, our lives and our families’ safety depend on this info,” Allen said. “When a big storm happens, it’s the Super Bowl of weather. As many as 30 million people watch.”
Allen’s company produces and syndicates TV shows and has released films, such as last year’s thriller “47 Meters Down.” It also owns Comedy.tv and Cars.tv, which are distributed online and through pay-TV providers.
The Weather Channel is based in Atlanta and has 400 employees. Entertainment Studios had been seeking a deal for about a year, and talks got serious in the last three to four months.
Allen said he want to invest more in the Weather Channel, expanding both its international and local distribution. It’s part of a broader strategy to invest what he said would be billions of dollars in the media and entertainment industry.
The Comcast-Blackstone-Bain-led group had purchased the Weather Channel in 2008 for about $3.5 billion. A spokesman for Blackstone declined to comment.