NEW YORK — ViacomCBS has unloaded CNET Media Group for $500 million to Red Ventures, a company that owns a portfolio of digital brands and is based in Fort Mill, SC.
CNET Media Group is a pioneer in digital media and includes tech news site CNET and ZDNet, a leader in B2B focused content and Gamespot, a games information brand in the US. The portfolio also includes entertainment and lifestyle brands like TVGuide, Metacritic, and Chowhound.
CBS originally bought CNET in 2008 for $1.8 billion so the sale this week is a loss for the company.
“Red Ventures believes in the power of premium content from trusted brands that help people make better life decisions,” said Ric Elias, Red Ventures CEO and Co-Founder. “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.”
“I am incredibly excited about CNET Media Group’s future. 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,” said Mark Larkin, Executive Vice President and GM of CNET Media Group. “Red Ventures shares our vision and is committed to realizing the full potential of our portfolio of world-class brands.”
Larkin and his senior team will remain with the company to continue their leadership of the CNET Media Group team following the acquisition.
Red Ventures was formed in 2000 as a performance marketing startup and has since grown to include more than 100 digital brands with more than 3,000 employees across 10 US cities, the UK and Brazil. It has two sides to its business – one is a sophisticated, partner-centric platform for performance marketing, and the other is a robust, consumer-centric platform for digital brands. Red Ventures’ existing brands operate in the Home Services, Health, Finance, Travel, Education, and Entertainment verticals. The acquisition of the CNET Media Group accelerates Red Ventures’ entry into new verticals, including Consumer Tech and Gaming.
“Every aspect of our lives – from our homes to our jobs, our income, and our well-being is impacted by the technology around us, so the content we consume and the brands we choose are highly personal,” said Marc McCollum, President of Red Ventures’ Media & Technology group. “Adding CNET Media Group to our portfolio will further advance our mission to help people make some of the most important decisions of their lives. It will be a win for our teams, for our businesses, and most of all, for visitors and fans of the CNET Media Group’s brands.”
Over the last three years Red Ventures has been investing in a robust portfolio of consumer-facing brands and partnerships. Earlier this year, Time Inc. announced the details of its partnership with Red Ventures to launch a new personal finance site called NextAdvisor, which delivers strategy guides, economic perspectives, reported stories and analysis of tools and products to visitors. In 2019, Red Ventures acquired Healthline Media, which includes Healthline.com, Greatist.com and Medical News Today (MNT). In 2017, Red Ventures acquired Bankrate, including several leading financial services and travel brands such as Bankrate.com, The Points Guy, and CreditCards.com.