The Weather Channel's acquisition of fellow online-weather firm Weather Underground is a logical deal that has been in the making for nearly 20 years. So it served as no surprise when The Weather Channel bought the Kerrytown-based business last week.
"We have been talking to The Weather Channel
since 1995," says Jeff Masters
, director of meteorology for Weather Underground
. "We have talked about them acquiring us off and on but they never put together a package that was attractive enough for us to sell."
Plus, there was what Master describes as the "maverick reputation" enjoyed by the co-founders. Weather Underground's
name is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the radical leftist group
from the 1970s. Such unconventional branding and need for independence shouldn't be too much of a stretch for a business spun out of the University of Michigan in 1995 that has quickly become a staple of start-ups in downtown Ann Arbor.
"It would have to be a very good offer for us to take it because we love doing what we do," Master says. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed. "However, running a company for 17 years is plenty."
Weather Underground's staff of seven people in Ann Arbor will remained unchanged for the foreseeable future, he says. The company also employs another 50 people across the U.S., including a large concentration in Silicon Valley.
Source: Jeff Masters, director of meteorology for Weather Underground
Writer: Jon Zemke