Press Association To Cash In On Meteo Stake
Britain's biggest newspaper publishers are hatching a plot to cash in on the success of Meteo, a fast-growing weather forecasting business.
Sky News understands that PA Group, the parent of the Press Association, is to offload a minority stake in Meteo Group in a deal that could value it at around £150m.
A sale, which is attracting the interest of a pack of private equity firms, would generate a cash windfall for PA, which plans to reinvest the proceeds in accelerating Meteo's expansion, according to insiders.
Meteo was founded in 1986 by Harry Otten, a weather presenter on Dutch television, and overcame the then-oligopoly of national meteorological offices by lobbying for open access to data.
The company formed a joint venture with the Press Association in 1997, and eventually sold a controlling stake to PA Group in 2005.
A provider of weather forecasting information to corporate, industrial and media customers, it is now looking to offload a stake of approximately 35% in a deal that could generate roughly £50m, one source said.
The funds will be used to accelerate Meteo's international expansion following its move into countries including the US and Singapore.
The Press Association is owned by a consortium of 27 shareholders, including all of the major national and regional newspaper publishers such as Daily Mail & General Trust, Telegraph Media Group and News UK, owner of The Sun and The Times. News UK is part of News Corp, whose executive chairman Rupert Murdoch is also chairman and chief executive of 21st Century Fox, which owns 39.1% of BSkyB, the parent of Sky News.
PA could not be reached for comment on Thursday.