A Swiss-owned business information provider will emerge this week as the mystery buyer of MeteoGroup, the weather forecasting giant which supplies data to the BBC and British Airways.
Sky News has learnt that TBG, which is based in Zurich, will fund the purchase of MeteoGroup through DTN, a company it acquired last year from the industrial powerhouse Schneider Electric.
The takeover will follow a troubled period for MeteoGroup under the ownership of General Atlantic, which initially invested in it in 2013.
Sources close to the deal, which is expected to be announced in the next couple of days, said it would enable TBG to expand its presence in the growing market for weather information services and technology.
MeteoGroup, which employs more than 100 meteorologists, has been a rare poor investment for GA, which has been a serial backer of technology ‘unicorns’ such as Buzzfeed and Uber.
The value of the deal is unlikely to be disclosed, but insiders confirmed that it would crystallise a loss for GA.
Pricing pressure across the industry is said to have been a factor in the challenging conditions faced by the business in recent years.
MeteoGroup is a major supplier of weather forecasting information to business customers, competing with companies including StormGeo and IBM, the US technology giant which owns The Weather Channel.
Clients include British Airways, which uses its data on its in-flight entertainment system, and the BBC, where it replaced the Met Office as the principal supplier of weather-related data earlier this year.
Accurate weather data has become an increasingly important element of business planning processes for companies around the world.
StormGeo is said to have been among the bidders for MeteoGroup at an earlier stage of the auction.
MeteoGroup replaced its last chief executive in 2016 with Donat Retif, a former boss of Truvo, a Belgian-based information and advertising group.
Its sales performance has improved since then, but GA and the company’s lenders are understood to have decided that its future ownership would make more sense as part of a larger strategic player in the market.
Sources said that the jobs of MeteoGroup’s 450 employees in 17 offices around the world were expected to be protected as part of the deal.
EY, the accountancy firm, has been advising on the sale.
A spokesman for MeteoGroup was unavailable for comment on Sunday.