ViacomCBS said it is offloading CNET Media Group for $500 million to digital-marketing company Red Ventures.
The Monday deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2020, also includes foodie site Chowhound, the tech site ZDNet, GameSpot, the Metacritic reviews-aggregation site and TVGuide.com. Red Ventures already owns and operates more than 100 digital sites including Bankrate, the Points Guy and Healthline.
CBS acquired CNET, the tech news and gadget review site, in 2008 for $1.8 billion. Since the recombination of Viacom and CBS, the new ViacomCBS, which owns MTV, Paramount Studios, Comedy Central and CBS, has been selling off non-core assets to reduce debt and free up capital for acquisitions in the streaming space.
The company, led by Chief Executive Bob Bakish, also has put on the auction block CBS’ longtime Manhattan headquarters Black Rock and book publisher Simon & Schuster.
CNET executive vice president and general manager Mark Larkin touted synergies between his company and Red Ventures, adding: “Red Ventures shares our vision and is committed to realizing the full potential of our portfolio of world-class brands.”
Fort Mill, SC-based Red Ventures, a 20-year-old company, said the CNET Media deal “accelerates” its entry into new verticals, including consumer technology and gaming.
“Red Ventures is eager to invest in CNET Media Group’s growth with more personalized consumer experiences that will reinvigorate CNET Media Group’s brands and unlock unprecedented opportunity for all,” said Red Ventures CEO and co-founder Ric Elias.