IBM (IBM) - Get Free Report will acquire The Weather Company, which owns and operates a number of weather-based data platforms including weather.com and Weather Underground, the company announced today.
The Weather Company's popular TV segment, The Weather Channel, will not be included in the deal, though it will still license data and analytics from IBM. The deal will also put the online B2B service WSI, which helps businesses profit from weather events, under the control of Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM.
Financial terms of the deal were not made public.
The Weather Company owns the fourth-most used mobile app in the U.S., and their cloud handles 26 billion requests a day.
"With this acquisition, IBM is going to harness one of the largest big data opportunities in the world -- weather," said IBM spokesperson Faye Abloeser in an email. "Weather is probably the single largest swing factor in business performance -- it impacts 1/3 of the world's GDP and in the U.S. alone; weather is responsible for about half a trillion dollars in impact."
The move into weather represents an even deeper push by IBM into big data and cloud computing, around which the company has restructured much of its business in recent years. IBM has made a similar push into health care data, repurposing its Jeopardy-winning Watson cognitive computing machine to help organize various online health systems.
The deal will also continue to build upon what IBM has done with Watson, with both its Internet of Things unit as well as its Cloud platform.
The deal is also a harbinger for the much-anticipated "Internet of Things" -- the ability of household devices and business equipment to connect automatically to the Internet -- because it will integrate weather forecasting functionalities into the many industrial systems whose data IBM manages.
"The Weather Company's extremely high-volume data platform, coupled with IBM's global cloud and the advanced cognitive computing capabilities of Watson, will be unsurpassed in the Internet of Things," said IBM vice president John Kelly in a statement, "providing our clients significant competitive advantage as they link their business and sensor data with weather and other pertinent information in real time."
IBM is purchasing The Weather Company from a consortium comprising The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital, and NBCUniversal. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016.