ViacomCBS (VIAC) Selling CNET For $500 Million To Red Ventures

By Amit Chowdhry ● September 14, 2020
  • Red Ventures confirmed today that it is buying CNET Media Group from ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAC) for $500 million. These are the details.

Red Ventures confirmed today that it is buying CNET Media Group from ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAC) for $500 million. This deal is expected to close in Q4 2020. Rumors about the deal surfaced last month.

As part of the deal, CNET Media Group EVP and GM Mark Larkin and several senior executives will remain at the company under Red Ventures following the acquisition.

CBS originally acquired CNET for $1.8 billion in 2008. Along with the flagship CNET.com website, CNET also runs brands like Metacritic, ZDNet, Gamespot, Roadshow, and TV Guide.

Launched in 2000, Red Ventures has 3,000 employees across the US, UK, and Brazil. Red Ventures also runs brands like Bankrate, The Points Guy, Healthline, Allconnect.com and MyMove. Time Inc. also partnered with Red Ventures earlier this year to launch NextAdvisor. When Red Ventures bought Bankrate for $1.24 billion in 2017, it included The Points Guy and CreditCards.com.

ViacomCBS indicated that it would be evaluating non-core assets since Viacom and CBS merged last year. And ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish also indicated that the company was planning to sell book publisher Simon & Schuster as well.

Evercore is serving as a financial adviser and K&L Gates LLP is acting as a legal adviser to Red Ventures for the CNET Media Group sale. And Citi is serving as financial adviser and Shearman & Sterling LLP is acting as legal adviser to ViacomCBS.

KEY QUOTES:

“Over the last 25 years CNET Media Group has built a dynamic portfolio of brands with well-earned authority on such topics as consumer tech and gaming that play an increasingly important role in people’s lives. 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.”

— Red Ventures CEO and co-founder Ric Elias

“I believe that the combination of Red Ventures’ customer-experience platform and CNET Media Group’s rich content and deep editorial expertise greatly benefits both our audiences and our partners. Red Ventures shares our vision and is committed to realizing the full potential of our portfolio of world-class brands.”

— Mark Larkin