ViacomCBS looks to offload CNET at US$1.3 billion loss

Bob Bakish

ViacomCBS has reportedly decided to sell off its tech news and reviews business CNET and is in talks with a marketing company over a US$500 million deal.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the media giant is in discussions with marketing firm Red Ventures, a company which owns a wide portfolio of “technologies, digital assets, and strategic partnerships” and has 3,000 employees across the US, the UK and Brazil.

ViacomCBS is currently gearing up for next year’s major streaming service rollout and is evidently looking for ways to reinforce its financial position ahead of the launch.

However, even if it managed to get US$500 million for CNET, it would still represent a huge loss on the media group it purchased for US$1.8 billion in 2008. In addition to the titular CNET website, CNET Networks includes dozens of brands such as GameSpot, TV Guide, ZDNet.

While promising, the report cites insiders who said that a deal hasn’t been finalised and could yet fall through.

This news comes some months after ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish said that the company would look to sell off a number of non-core assets. These include book publisher Simon & Schuster, which is valued at more than US$1.5 billion, and CBS’s midtown Manhattan Black Rock office.

ViacomCBS ended the most recent quarter with total revenues of US$6.28 billion, down 12% year-over-year.

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