Today IBM said it is selling The Weather Company to Francisco Partners, a global investment firm specializing in technology partnerships. The deal is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2024, though the specific transactional terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed.
IBM will retain control over The Weather Company’s forecast data, such as the Environmental Intelligence Suite, which tracks land-use changes, monitors natural disasters, and predicts crop yields. The information is so valuable because it’s powered by NASA’s satellite dataset.
While The Weather Company and its assets like Weather.com aren’t the buzziest properties, they’re seen as critical destinations online, especially when huge storms bare down your city. Millions of concerned residents in Southern California and Nevada, for example, likely logged on to the site to check on the status of Tropical Storm Hillary.
Update: For clarification, Weather.com, the website for The Weather Channel, is being sold, but the Weather Channel is not. The two companies are separate but have a licensing deal.
“We’re proud of what The Weather Company team has accomplished with IBM, and we are confident that the best path forward is as a standalone company benefiting from Francisco Partners’ expanded investment, dedication, and expertise,” said Rob Thomas, senior vice president of software and chief commercial officer at IBM. “Over the last few years, we’ve evolved IBM to be a hybrid cloud and AI company. We regularly review our portfolio to make sure our business areas are core to that strategy, and today’s news reflects our continued focus on these two transformational technologies.”
Francisco Partners will acquire The Weather Company’s digital assets, including its mobile and cloud-based properties Weather.com, Weather Underground, and Storm Radar.
The firm will also gain command of The Weather Company’s broadcast, media, aviation, advertising technology, data solutions enterprises, and its forecasting science and technology platform.
“Amid the growing volatility of weather, The Weather Company’s unique set of consumer, media, and industry-specific products provide mission critical, data-driven weather insights to individuals and businesses around the world,” said Alan Ni of Francisco Partners. “We are excited to partner with the management team to grow The Weather Company’s robust portfolio of technology offerings and deliver a great product experience for its customers.”
The Weather Company looks to move beyond strictly focusing on forecasting by bringing in new tools to better inform its 415 million users how weather impacts all areas of their lives. Aided by increasing investments and additional resources provided by Francisco Partners, the company will add a focus on health and well-being related to weather changes.
IBM purchased The Weather Company for $2 billion in 2016. In April, the company began looking for a buyer.