Lots of big media players are interested in the Weather Channel, including NBC U, CBS, Time Warner, Comcast, Liberty and Disney. But that $5 billion asking price? Too high. Potential bidders say the cable network-plus-Weather.com is worth more like $4 billion.
Also probably not happening: a private equity takeout. Despite plenty of interest from the likes of Bain Capital, Providence Equity Partners, and Madison Dearborn, the NYTimes says they’re unlikely to mount serious bids due to tight credit markets.
But we will take all of this with a few grains of salt: While there’s some rationale for Weather Channel owner Landmark Communications and its would-be buyers to use the NYT to communicate with each other, we won’t know what’s really going on until the auction ends. Cautionary tale: In mid-February, the NYT reported that Getty Images wasn’t able to find a buyer. But two weeks later it did – at a decent 40% premium over its trading value.