The WSJ ($) polls potential buyers for Landmark’s Weather Channel assets and concludes that there are two primary contestants: Time Warner (TWX) and NBC U (GE), backed by Blackstone. The deadline for a second round of bidding is today, and the paper expects offers to top out around $4 billion; Landmark had originally been asking $5 billion. That $4 billion number has been more or less the consensus estimate of the channel + website’s value since the auction began.
The WSJ thinks NBC has “the strongest case” for buying the Weather Channel, but notes that since its bid is backed by Blackstone, its constrained to some degree (not to mention the fact that corporate parent GE isn’t a huge fan of paying premiums for entertainment assets — just ask the Universal execs that tried to buy DreamWorks a couple years ago). But Time Warner has 9.25 billion things going for it — the cash it’s going to get from the Time Warner Cable spinoff.