Biotech giant and evil agribusiness overlord Monsanto announced Wednesday that it is acquiring climate data company The Climate Corporation, formerly known as WeatherBill, for $930 million. Which ultimately reveals Monsanto’s latest goal: patent the weather.
Founded in 2006, the Climate Corporation took a very basic concept—data—and applied it to a big, global problem: agriculture in the face of climate change. Over 90% of crop loss is caused by weather conditions.
The Climate Corporation runs Climate.com, a site that farmers can use to get up-to-the-minute field-level data on conditions, the right time and place to plant, till, spray, and harvest. Farmers can track the growth stages of their crops on Climate.com and get projections on yeild outcomes.
Farmers can then use the data from Climate.com to purchase the right type of insurance through the Climate Corporation, whether it’s all-inclusive weather insurance, crop insurance, or insurance to cover specific weather conditions.
The company has raised $109 million altogether from Index Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Google Ventures, NEA, Atomico, The Founders Fund and more. Following the acquisition, The Climate Corporation will continue to operate independently and maintain its own brand identity. It will remain headquartered in Silicon Valley and will retain all of its employees.
“The Climate Corporation team brings leading expertise that will continue to greatly benefit farmers and their bottom-line, and we want to expand upon this tremendous work and broaden their reach to more crops and more world areas,” said Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant in a statement. “We look forward to working closely with our distribution partners and others in the agricultural industry to bring this suite of information resources to the farm.”
Monsanto believes The Climate Corporation’s focus on data science is agriculture’s next major growth frontier and could potentially represent a growth opportunity of $20 billion beyond Monsanto’s current core focus: splicing animal and plant DNA to create foods that could potentially still be alive in our intestines as we speak.
Monsanto released its fourth quarter earnings Wednesday, revealing a quarterly profit of $924 million on revenue of $2.2 billion. For the 2013 fiscal year, Monsanto generated $14.9 billion in revenue for a gross profit of $7.7 billion. The company suffered a net loss of $249 million attributable to Monsanto Company.
Earnings per share for the quarter and fiscal year missed analysts’ expectations. Wall Street was anticipating a loss of 43 cents per share from continuing operations, and Monsanto’s EPS was a loss of 47 cents. Monsanto shares were down 1.37% Wednesday morning to $103.61.
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