Report: IBM close to buying The Weather Company’s digital arm

Oct 27, 2015

IBM is close to finalizing a purchase of the digital assets of the The Weather Company, according to a Wall Street Journal report on Tuesday that cited unnamed sources.

The deal, worth over $2 billion, does not include the Weather Channel television property, but only digital properties like the website, app, web infrastructure, and data. The deal would give IBM access to the Weather Co.’s forecasting unit, which manages and analyzes weather data for the various services. The unit also licenses that information to businesses like airliners and insurance companies.

In March, IBM (ibm) and the Weather Company partnered to sell data crunching services to industries like retailers, utility companies, and insurers. As part of the alliance, The Weather Company said it would move its weather data services and technology to IBM’s cloud computing platform that offers customers computing resources on demand.

The Weather Channel also integrated its weather data technology with IBM’s data analytics services, including its Watson artificial intelligence service. IBM has been heavily investing in Watson, the robotic Jeopardy champion, to offset declines in its traditional businesses like selling software.

Although sales have declined for 14 straight quarters, company executives have said they remain committed to investing heavily in Watson and cloud computing. On a conference call for IBM’s latest earnings report, Chief Financial Officer Martin Schroeter told investors that Watson was critical to the company’s “significant transformation.”

As part of the deal with the Weather Company, Weather Co. Chief Executive David Kenny will likely join IBM, the Wall Street Journal report said. The Weather Co. has been trying to sell its digital properties for a while, and, over a year ago, approached Google (goog). But the search giant declined, according to the report.

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