Bryon Allen, a comedian-turned-business mogul, acquired the Weather Channel for $300 million through his company Entertainment Studios, according to reports.
Entertainment Studios purchased the TV network’s parent company, Weather Group, from its previous owners: Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal and private equity firms Blackstone Group and Bain Capital. Those companies picked up Weather Group in 2008 for $3.5 billion, nearly 10 times more than its current purchasing value.
“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. We welcome The Weather Channel, which has been seen in American households for nearly four decades, to our cable television networks division,” said Allen, according to TheWrap. He added that the acquisition of the cable network is part of his strategic plan to invest “billions of dollars over the next five years” to build a media empire.
Under the deal, Allen’s company will have full ownership over the TV station and Local Now streaming service. The deal, however, does not include the Weather Group’s digital assets, like weather.com and Weather Underground, or its mobile apps, which were all acquired by IBM for $2.5 billion in 2015.
“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, according to Deadline. “Byron Allen’s purchase of our innovative and forward-thinking organization will increase the value we bring to our viewers, distributors, and advertisers.”
The talk show host founded Entertainment Studios from his dining room in 1993. Today, the global media company owns nine cable television networks, including Pets.TV and Comedy.TV. The company also expanded into film production and distribution when it acquired Freestyle Releasing in 2015. Plus, it picked up theGrio, a web-based African American news outlet, in June 2016.