A half-dozen media companies have signaled that they plan to bid for the Weather Channel, which is up for auction, people involved in the talks said Wednesday.
The suitors, these people said, include NBC, CBS, the Walt Disney Company, Time Warner, the Comcast Corporation and Liberty Media.
Also, a handful of private equity firms, including Bain Capital, Providence Equity Partners and Madison Dearborn, have indicated an interest, though they are unlikely to be serious bidders because of the tight credit markets.
The Weather Channel, owned by Landmark Communications, a privately held company controlled by the Batten family of Norfolk, Va., has set Friday as a deadline for preliminary bids, these people said.
Landmark put the Weather Channel up for sale as part of a breakup of the company; it is separately auctioning its newspaper holdings, which include The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, The News & Record of Greensboro, N.C., and The Roanoke Times in Virginia, as well as 50 community newspapers.