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Sinclair Broadcast Group may be eyeing The Weather Channel

Hunt Valley-based Sinclair Broadcast Group is interested in acquiring The Weather Channel's TV operations in a deal that could be valued at $100 million, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The cable channel is owned by private equity firms Bain Capital LLC and Blackstone Group LP and NBCUniversal, a unit of Comcast Corp.

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Officials at Sinclair could not be reached for comment Tuesday, a day before the company announces second-quarter earnings. A spokesman for the Weather Channel's TV business had no comment.

Sinclair, one of the nation's largest independent broadcasters and the largest producer of local news, acquired its first national cable channel in March when it bought the Tennis Channel, a live sports cable channel, for $350 million. The TV station owner, which has been expanding programming in areas such as sports and entertainment, said it was attracted to the only major sports network left under independent ownership.

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Sinclair owns, operates and provides services to 173 television stations in 81 markets. The broadcaster expects to announce its second-quarter earnings Wednesday.

The Wall Street Journal reported that talks between Sinclair and the Weather Channel's owners have been ongoing for about a year and recently became more serious. The cable channel started in 1982 to broadcast weather-related news and forecasts and is now one of the most widely distributed cable channels in the U.S.

Bain, Blackstone and NBCUniversal acquired the Weather Channel in 2008 for about $3.5 billion. The Wall Street Journal reported that the deal for TV operations may be valued at around $100 million, reflecting how its value has deteriorated despite its extensive reach.

It's not clear what might happen to the Weather Channel's online assets.

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