US television giant CBS Corporation has entered into an agreement to acquire CNET Networks – the parent of specialist games media portal Gamespot – for $1.8 billion.
The move was announced today by Leslie Moonves president and CEO of CBS Corporation.
Under the terms of the agreement, CBS will make a cash tender offer for all issued and outstanding shares of CNET Networks for $11.50 per share.
The acquisition will make CBS one of the ten most popular internet companies in the United States, with a combined 54 million unique users per month, and approximately 200 million users worldwide.
"There are very few opportunities to acquire a profitable, growing, well-managed Internet company like CNET Networks," said Moonves.
"CBS stands for premium content and unparalleled reach, and CNET Networks will add a tremendous platform to extend our complementary entertainment, news, sports, music and information content to a whole new global audience.
Together, CBS and CNET Networks will have significant additional exposure to the fastest-growing advertising sector and can accelerate our growth through a number of new content, promotion and advertising initiatives.
We could not be more pleased with the prospect of adding CNET Networks and its tremendous team of people to the CBS family. I look forward to working with Quincy Smith, Neil Ashe and the considerable combined talent at both companies, as we build upon our success."
Based in San Francisco, CNET Networks owns many of the Internet’s leading entertainment, news and information sites including CNET, ZDNet, GameSpot.com, TV.com, mp3.com, CNET news.com, UrbanBaby, CHOW, Search.com, BNET, MySimon and TechRepublic.
The company, which reported significant profits in 2007 on revenues of $406 million, has a large international footprint, particularly in China.
"The core businesses of CNET Networks and CBS Interactive represent near perfect category symmetry in premium online content," said Quincy Smith, president of CBS Interactive.
"Together we will have a terrific opportunity to not only grow our established businesses, but to build new attractive verticals of content as well. This is the beginning of an era for both CBS and CNET Networks; plus, it’s going to be great to work with Neil and his team, many of whom I have known for many years."
The Board of Directors of CNET Networks has unanimously approved the merger agreement and unanimously recommends that CNET Networks stockholders accept the tender offer and tender their shares.
The transaction is subject to customary conditions and is expected to be completed in the third quarter of this year.