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ViacomCBS Sells CNET for $500 Million

By Eric Volkman – Sep 14, 2020 at 6:49PM

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The entertainment company's predecessor paid $1.8 billion for it in 2008.

The popular and durable CNET tech news and reviews internet portal is about to have a new owner. Entertainment conglomerate ViacomCBS (NASDAQ: VIA) has signed a definitive agreement to sell CNET's parent, CNET Media Group, for $500 million to privately held Red Ventures, both companies announced in a joint press release.

Since its founding in 1992, CNET Media Group has grown to encompass notable digital assets in its field. In its portfolio are tech news site ZDNet, and a popular video gaming review platform, GameSpot. These should compliment the numerous digital properties owned by Red Ventures, which include online personal finance portal Bankrate.

Happy couple seated on a couch, using a tablet.

Image source: Getty Images.

The divestment is part of a broader strategy by ViacomCBS to streamline and focus more on its entertainment assets, notably streaming video.

Although it has a platform loaded with content, CBS All Access, some consider the company to be a bit of an underdog in a world dominated by the likes of Netflix and more recent arrivals from heavyweight entertainment industry rivals such as Walt Disney. ViacomCBS is attempting to be more competitive by bulking up the content on its platform and relaunching it as a "super service."

ViacomCBS predecessor CBS Corporation bought CNET for $1.8 billion in an all-cash deal signed in 2008. While it is still a recognized name for online tech industry content, it now has a host of competitors.

Nevertheless, investors greeted news of the sale positively. ViacomCBS's shares closed up by almost 2.4% on Monday, comfortably exceeding the increase of the S&P 500 index on the day.

Eric Volkman owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Netflix and Walt Disney and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $60 calls on Walt Disney and short October 2020 $125 calls on Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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