The Weather Channel is essentially on its own again, without its hot online and web units.
IBM announced it has officially closed on its deal to buy most of the channel’s parent company, the Cobb County-based Weather Company.
That includes weather.com, the company’s mobile apps and, crucially, the ability to gather, crunch and distribute huge amounts of weather data not only to consumers but to the Weather Company’s business customers, including airlines, media outlets and energy businesses.
But the acquisition, plans for which were announced in October, doesn’t include the TV network.
The Weather Channel remains a largely standalone network, though it will continue to be owned by a consortium that includes private equity firms the Blackstone Group and Bain Capital as well as NBCUniversal, which has made on-air connections between The Weather Channel and its own networks. The Weather Channel has a long-term license to get weather forecasting data from IBM.
Between 900 and 950 employees are making the jump to IBM, a spokeswoman wrote Sunday in an email to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. About 450 of those new IBM workers are based in Atlanta.
Bailey Rogers, a spokesperson for the remaining Weather Channel, wrote in a Monday email to the AJC that the network’s owners are not seeking a buyer for it.
That TV business now has about 500 employees, most of whom are based at its Cobb headquarters. In response to a query from the AJC, Rogers wrote that “there are no job cuts in the works.” The network had made cuts in September.
Meanwhile, Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM, which has been dogged by declining sales, plans to use the Weather Company’s expertise and infrastructure to boost the tech giant’s big bet on Watson, a computing system that “learns” and could provide insights for a host of industries.
IBM also said it plans to expand weather.com into China, India, Brazil, Mexico and Japan, with hopes of adding hundreds of millions over three years.