ViacomCBS Looking to Sell CNET for $500 Million to Digital-Marketing Firm (Report)

ViacomCBS wants to offload CNET, the tech news and reviews division of CBS Interactive, and the media conglomerate is in talks to sell it for $500 million, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Per the report, ViacomCBS has held talks with Red Ventures, a marketing company that says it owns a “portfolio of technologies, digital assets, and strategic partnerships that enable us to meet consumers where they are in the buying cycle.”

ViacomCBS reps declined to comment. Red Ventures did not respond to a request for comment.

CBS acquired CNET Networks in 2008 for $1.8 billion. In addition to the flagship CNET site, the CNET Media Group also houses brands including ZDNet, GameSpot and TV Guide.

Founded in 2000, Red Ventures says it has 3,000 employees in the U.S., the U.K. and Brazil. The Fort Mill, S.C.-based company owns and operates digital brands including Bankrate, the Points Guy, Healthline, MyMove and Allconnect.com. In 2017, Red Ventures acquired the Bankrate personal-finance website for $1.24 billion.

ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish has told investors that the company is evaluating the sale of non-core assets — i.e., those that are not video-based. Earlier this year, Bakish said the company was seeking to sell book publisher Simon & Schuster, which analysts say could fetch upwards of $1.5 billion. The CEO previously said ViacomCBS also exploring a sale of Black Rock, the office building in midtown Manhattan which has served as CBS’s headquarters since the mid-1960s.

CNET first launched in 1994, at the dawn of the internet. The site covers technology, science and culture with news, reviews, buying guides, features and commentary, and operates a Spanish-language offshoot, CNET en Español.

Mark Larkin, who has been with CBS and CNET for more than two decades, is EVP and general manager of the CNET Media Group. He joined CNET Networks in 1996, according to ViacomCBS. When CBS acquired CNET in 2008, Larkin was named VP and GM of CBSNews.com.

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