The We(‘re)ather Channel Companies For Sale
Work is abuzz this morning with the news that we’re being shopped around. JP Morgan has been given the task of exploring the sale of Landmark’s weather related properties. Looks like I’ll be working for a publicly traded company within the year, if my position is one that makes the cut.
The Huffington Post mentions NBC, Comcast and News Corp. as potential bidders. My personal speculation, based on no inside knowledge whatsoever, and I’m not joking about that, please don’t take anything I type as any kind of inside information because I don’t have any at all, is that we’re a good fit for Discovery Networks, ABC, Viacom and maybe Turner. I’m hoping one of the big online players like Google or Yahoo or even Microsoft will want to bid but I am not sure how much sense owning a cable channel makes for any of those players. Probably none.
Anyway, the main source of concern for most everyone I’ve talked to this morning is in regards to the pension plan. We’re one of the few companies that still offers a pension. Any publicly traded company is likely to drop that like a hot potato.
Personally, I have mixed emotions. For the business, this makes a lot of sense. We’re worth a whole bunch and growth prospects are probably higher in a larger company. My own personal prospects are probably improved as well as there will hopefully be more growth opportunities. If not, there’s always a nice severance package and other opportunities ahead. I have lots of experience in the internet advertising and publishing business and feel sure I’ll land on my feet.
Also, the weather side of the business is being shopped by JP Morgan. The newspaper side is being shopped by Lehman Brothers. This suggests that the businesses will be sold separately. For The Weather Channel, that’s a good thing. The buyers for the newspaper side, a much weaker business, will be totally different as far as corporate culture and profit strategies are concerned. If I were still back at the newspaper, I’d be much more worried about my job and my future, I think. Layoffs are assured and more will be expected of fewer people. My heart goes out to those people that are still at the newspaper, especially the Romanian.
For those of you that care, I’m fine and have a positive mindset about the possibilities. This is a good thing for the company and probably a good thing for me. It may not be the best for some of the employees of the company but I hope it will turn out well for all of them in the future.