Up with Downey
The wonderful thing about exit strategies is that you don't always see them coming.

CNET Networks (Nasdaq: CNET) has been rumor-mill fodder for years now. Back in 2005, CNET's name was attached to buyout reports from nearly every major search engine. Nothing happened. With search engines pairing off as if it's a punk-rock square dance, you'd think CNET surely would have found a do-si-do partner, but no such luck.

Finally, on Thursday, CBS (NYSE: CBS) stretched out its hand and asked CNET to dance. CBS? Really?

Well, media conglomerates have a funny way of cutting in. There was chatter about portals lining up for iVillage, before NBC stepped in. MySpace turned to Fox. Last.fm saved its last dance for CBS.

The major networks are beefing up their Internet hubs. The $1.8 billion deal for CNET will make CBS one of the country's 10 largest website operators. If the deal doesn't make perfect sense for you, let's connect the dots: CNET serves up a ton of traffic. CBS sells a ton of advertising. CBS owns a television network and several radio stations. CNET owns TV.com and Radio.com.

It's a win-win deal, even if it seems obvious only now.

Quick hits
A few more of the market's stories, in brief:

  • Nothing is over until Carl Icahn says it is. The billionaire investor took on a new pet project earlier this week. Buying up shares in Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) and nominating a whole slate of board members? Does Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) know it is being set up on a second date? If the summer reruns bore you, check out Yahoo!'s shareholder meeting in July. It's going to be a hot one.
  • Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) is getting Bold with its new BlackBerry. The Canadian company introduced its new device, which offers a lot of the functionality that Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) fans find in the iPhone. With 14 million subscribers at the end of March, the BlackBerry has an installed base considerably larger than the iPhone mob. However, it's important to keep up with the competition. Kudos to BlackBerry for not getting cocky. Your move, Steve Jobs.
  • Blockbuster (NYSE: BBI) turned heads by posting a better-than-expected quarterly profit. The DVD-rental chain also grew domestic comps for the first time in five years. Even the once-bleeding Total Access mail-delivery service is now profitable. It's OK to laugh at the khaki and blue Blockbuster uniforms, but you can no longer laugh at the company.

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz