NBC, partners pay €2.3bn for Weather Channel

NBC Universal and two partners have reached a deal to buy The Weather Channel from Landmark Communications, ending a drawn-out process that had attracted interest from several major media companies.

Financial terms weren't disclosed, but a person familiar with the matter who insisted on anonymity said the purchase price was €2.3 billion (US$3.5 billion) in cash, according to an Associated Press report.

NBC was joined in the deal by the private equity firms The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital.

In addition to The Weather Channel, which can be seen by 97% of US cable subscribers, the deal also includes several related assets such as weather services for newspapers and radio stations and the widely used web site Weather.com, the Associated Press report also said.

NBC Universal, a unit of General Electric, became the sole bidder for The Weather Channel last month after Time Warner dropped out.

CBS and cable industry leader Comcast had also expressed interest earlier.

NBC already operates a digital weather and news service called NBC Weather Plus that was launched in 2004 and would make a logical fit with The Weather Channel.

The Weather Channel was launched in 1982. Its web site has about 37 million monthly unique visitors, putting it in the top 15 web sites, according to the company.