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Report: ViacomCBS in Talks to Sell CNET for $500 Million, Plans to Unload Other Assets

By Eric Volkman - Aug 18, 2020 at 5:22PM

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The tech media company is one of several assets the entertainment conglomerate aims to divest.

ViacomCBS (NASDAQ: VIA) is apparently going on a diet. The company is discussing the sale of its CNET tech portal to privately held Red Ventures, a holder of numerous digital properties, according to an article published Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal. Citing "people familiar with the matter," the Journal writes that the price under discussion is around $500 million.

ViacomCBS is a company in flux. It was created last year from the merger of sibling media companies Viacom and CBS, and is concentrating on the improvement of its balance sheet partially through the disposal of non-core assets like CNET.

Two businesspeople negotiating a contract.

Image source: Getty Images.

It also plans to devote more resources to video streaming; currently it operates a popular streaming platform, CBS All Access, but is also developing a "super service" uniting its vast trove of entertainment content across several properties.

ViacomCBS is also seeking to unload Simon & Schuster, the storied book publisher, for $1.2 billion, as well as its Midtown Manhattan skyscraper. The latter is estimated by analysts to be worth at least $800 million.

Red Ventures is based in South Carolina, and has a sizable portfolio of digital media properties. Among the more familiar of these are personal finance site operator Bankrate and travel portal The Points Guy.

None of the parties involved in the apparent CNET negotiations -- CNET, ViacomCBS, and Red Ventures -- have yet offered public comment on their discussions.

Investors might have a soft spot for CNET. On Tuesday, they bid ViacomCBS' shares down by nearly 1%, while the broader stock market rose on the day.

Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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