CBS buys CNET Networks for $1.8 billion

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CBS Corporation has announced today that it has bought CNET Networks for $1.8 billion in cash,or $11.50 per share – representing a 44.6% premium on last night’s closing price of $7.95.

From all the latest reports, this appears to avoids a proxy drama from Jana Partners, though it has no comment over the new deal.

CNET Networks is expected to be part of CBS Interactive, pending approval. CBS Interactive will add CNET, ZDNet, GameSpot, TV.com, MP3.com, UrbanBaby, Chow, BNET, MySimon and TechRepublic to its current lineup of sites; including WallStrip.tv and last.fm.

As well, CBS Interactive will also add its international businesses, including sites in the UK, Australia, Germany, France and its growing China operations – who has sites devoted to women and automobiles.

CNET already has a partnership with Yahoo, where CNET provides technology news and reviews to its current slate of sites on the search company, and Yahoo is to sell ads on CNET properties and CNET to sell ads alongside the content on Yahoo.

"There are very few opportunities to acquire a profitable, growing, well-managed Internet company like CNET Networks," said Leslie Moonves, the President and Chief Executive Officer of CBS Corporation, in the statement.

“CBS stands for premium content and unparalleled reach, and CNET Networks will add a tremendous platform to extend our complementary entertainment, news, sports, music and information content to a whole new global audience. Together, CBS and CNET Networks will have significant additional exposure to the fastest- growing advertising sector and can accelerate our growth through a number of new content, promotion and advertising initiatives. We could not be more pleased with the prospect of adding CNET Networks and its tremendous team of people to the CBS family. I look forward to working with Quincy Smith, Neil Ashe and the considerable combined talent at both companies, as we build upon our success.”

On the CNET News blog, where they had announced it, the deal has gotten some mixed comments, with some saying that they don’t want this to happen. One comment says: "A real shame. I’ve been a daily CNET user for over 10 years but there is no way this will equate to an improvement. But maybe it’s time to retire my daily regiment.. Good luck to the staff of CNET, I hope you all are able to keep your jobs or find better ones."

CBS Corporation is the legal successor of Viacom, which included the company now called Viacom. Both Viacom and CBS are owned by Sumner Redstone, where he sits as Executive Chairman at CBS.

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