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IBM reportedly exploring sale of its weather business

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International Business Machines Corp. is reportedly exploring selling its weather business as part of a move to streamline its operations.

The Wall Street Journal, referencing people with the matter, claims that discussions are only in their early stages and a deal may not happen. Options on the table include auctioning the business, with a private-equity company as a likely buyer should a sale take place. Any deal could be valued at more than $1 billion.

IBM entered the weather business in 2015 when it acquired the Weather Company in a $2 billion deal. The acquisition included Weather Co.’s business-to-business, mobile and cloud-based web properties, including WSI,, Weather Underground and The Weather Company brand. The deal did not include The Weather Channel, with IBM entering into a long-term agreement to provide weather data to the channel.

It was claimed at the time of the acquisition in 2015 that it was Big Data and Internet of Things play by IBM. Over its eight years of ownership, IBM has enhanced its weather services, including adding data from aircraft and smartphones to improve weather forecasts.

In an interview with theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media Inc.’s live streaming studio in 2018, Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek, then global head of global marketing and business solutions at IBM, said that practically all companies stand to gain from incorporating weather data into their decision-making.

“There’s something like half a trillion dollars in economic impact from weather alone every single year here in the U.S.,” Boockoff-Bajdek said. Despite this, most organizations have no weather strategy.

The decision comes amid reports that IBM is looking to further streamline its operations amid its lowest share price in over 20 years. The move to divest non-core assets began in January 2022 when IBM sold a number of software products and other assets from its Watson Health business to private equity firm Francisco Partners.

Like other tech companies amid dark macroeconomic clouds, IBM has also laid off staff, announcing plans to cut its headcount by 3,900 in March. Notably, Chief Financial Officer James Kavanaugh said that the layoffs would primarily affect staff left over after the sale of Watson and Kyndryl, the latter a managed infrastructure business spun out of IBM in 2021. A sale of IBM’s weather business could result in similar staff cuts.

Photo: Patrick/Flickr

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