Shareholder activists Jana Partners and company got their way, sort of. CNET has new management, and in fact ownership: CBS, which will purchase CNET for $11.50 a share, or $1.8 billion. That's about $150 million more than Google paid for YouTube, but there is no buyer's remorse from CBS as of yet. "The acquisition will make CBS one of the 10 most popular Internet companies in the United States," reads a statement from CBS, its traffic now fattened by visits to CNET sites CNET, ZDNet, GameSpot.com, TV.com, MP3.com, News.com, and UrbanBaby. CNET CEO Neil Ashe's internal email is copied below.
This is an exciting day for us. Today, CBS and CNET Networks announced a definitive agreement under which CBS will acquire CNET Networks. This announcement represents an important strategic step for both of our companies. We expect to complete this transaction by early Q3 of this year.
You can read the full release formally announcing this acquisition here.
Together CBS and CNET Networks represent an unbeatable combination of premium content online, premium content on air and premium audiences. As a leading online media network, we will have an impressive portfolio of leading brands, including CNET, CBS.com, CBSSports.com (formerly Sportsline.com), GameSpot, BNET, and TV.com to name a few. Together we will be bigger, bolder and better than we could be apart.
Both CBS and CNET Networks share a common vision about interactive media, the importance of category defining brands and how to build online destinations that give people more of what they crave. CNET Networks brings unique skills and assets to CBS including our ability to build, operate and grow interactive brands, our flexible technology platforms as well as some of the most talented interactive media professionals in the industry today.
There will be significant promotion opportunities for our brands online across CBS's Interactive portfolio, as well as offline across CBS's leading media properties.
CBS's brands complement our existing categories, giving us quality reach across premium audiences. On the sales side, we now have the ability to offer advertisers a larger audience, more brands, and more page views - providing marketers more scale. For example, we can now build the ultimate men's network with sites like CNET, CBS Sports, GameSpot and BNET.
On Tuesday, May 20th, I will host a Company All Meeting in San Francisco. We'll talk about the transaction and the exciting opportunities that it creates for both NCAA and CNET Networks and we'll answer your questions. Stay tuned for details and logistics on that meeting.
So what now? We must remain focused on our day-to-day responsibilities. We still need to deliver on the commitments and promises we made to our users, our advertisers, our shareholders and our fellow employees.
In the weeks ahead, as we work to ensure the smooth integration of our two companies, we will continue to provide you with regular updates. If you have specific questions, please feel free to submit them through offline. We will aggregate your questions and incorporate answers into our communications.
Finally, I want to thank you for your continued hard work and support. It is because of you that 160 million people show up each month to interact with some of the best websites in the world. It is because of you that we have been recognized as a leading company with a unique culture and exceptional employees. It is your dedication to our users, our brands and each other that have enabled us to take this exciting step.
Today, the next chapter in our story begins.
***************** Neil Ashe CNET Networks, Inc.