As someone who has witnessed the meteoric rise of CNET and its role in technology media from the very beginning, I was shocked to learn that they are being sold for $500 million to Red Ventures, a North Carolina-based media investor.
After all, CBS had acquired CNET for $1.8 billion in 2008 — but then I remembered that CBS already sold off the China operations. And they milked the property nicely after a turnaround by former CEO Jim Lanzone and his team. What’s left is finally getting a new home, and at a price much higher price than traditional private equity buyers were willing to pay.
Wow, that’s a name I’ve not thought about for a long while. CNET — and ZDNet, which it acquired in the 2000s — was a big part of my web browsing, and later podcast listening, habits for a long time.
Sadly, as Om points out in his piece, Red Ventures are more interested in the reviews and referrals side of CNET, and that makes me wonder what’ll happen to what’s left of the journalistic side of their operations. Here’s hoping those folks find new gigs.
I wonder what the future will hold for the other parts of CBS Interactive, particularly Last.fm ?