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Weather Channel Hires Investment Banks To Pursue Sale Options

The parent company of the Weather Channel has taken another step toward putting itself on the auction block by enlisting banks Morgan Stanley and PJT Partners to pursue a sale of the TV and digital company.

Bloomberg News reported Wednesday that the banks have been tasked with exploring a number of options for the Atlanta-based Weather Co., owned by Bain Capital, Blackstone and NBCUniversal. That trio acquired the company for $3.5 billion in 2008. The sale scenarios include the possibility of separating the more robust digital side of Weather Co. from the cable channel, according to Bloomberg.

The Weather Channel has faced a stormy few years at a time of contraction in the traditional pay TV business. The company has had public carriage battles with MVPDs including DirecTV, Dish Network and Verizon, as operators look for ways to trim costs and drop lower-rated channels. Weather data has become so readily available online and via mobile devices that the Weather Channel is no longer the vital addition to a pay-TV bundle that it once was.

The writing has been on the wall for Weather Co. as rumors of a sale increased. In June, NBCU parent Comcast took a $250 million writedown on its interest in Weather Co. in the second quarter, valuing its minority stake at $86 million.

A rep for Weather Co. declined to comment.

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