The good news is an online entity featuring lots of tech news and commentary is worth $1.8 billion. The bad news is that it isn't HotHardware. CBS announced today that they have acquired CNET Networks, which operates a host of Internet sites like CNET, ZDNet, Gamespot, Search.com, TV.com, and many more.
"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."
I'm sure that if you were a fly on the wall in the boardroom, you'd hear a lot about the "synergy" a deal like this has. But there really isn't any. CBS doesn't have much of an Internet presence, so they bought one ready-made. CNET had revenues of $406 million last year, turned a profit, and can boast 200 million users worldwide. It would take CBS a long time to build that from scratch. Or $1.8 billion dollars to do it in an afternoon.