By Shira Ovide
Evelyn de Rothschild and Lynn Forester de Rothschild said they are buying a majority stake in weather-data service Weather Central L.P., marking a significant expansion of the Rothschilds’ investments into media and information.
The couple’s private-investment company, E.L. Rothschild LLC, is slated to acquire 70% of Weather Central, which provides weather forecasting services and graphics to local television stations and TV programs such as ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Ms. Forester de Rothschild, a former telecommunications executive and a prominent Democratic fund raiser, is CEO of E.L. Rothschild. Evelyn, her husband, is chairman of the investment company and was chairman of the NM Rothschild & Sons investment bank until 2007, when he cashed out his investment. His cousin, Baron David de Rothschild, now runs the investment bank.
E.L. Rothschild also holds the couple’s investments in the U.K.’s Economist Group and agricultural company FieldFresh Foods, majority owned by India’s Bharti Enterprises.
“We have been looking for an investment to partner on an operating basis — as we did with our investment in agriculture in India and with the Economist — since my husband sold his position in NM Rothschild,” Ms. Forester de Rothschild said in an interview.
The remaining 30% of Weather Central will be owned by the company’s management, including CEO and founder Terry Kelly, who will continue to oversee the company. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
Ms. Forester de Rothschild said with the fresh investment, she believes Weather Central will further expand its services into international TV channels. Ms. Forester de Rothschild also said she expects to sell weather data to insurers, commodities traders and other investors whose holdings or assets can be impaired by storms or other severe weather. And she said she hopes Weather Central can take advantage of people seeking out personalized weather information in more places, from smart phones to Internet-connected television sets.