GameSpot and Metacritic are among many companies within CNET Media that will soon find themselves under a new parent company. ViacomCBS has reached a deal with Red Ventures to sell the entire brand for $500 million.
Media Group EVP and GM Mark Larkin, along with the unit’s senior execs, will remain with Red Ventures after the handover. CNET Media Group has 980 employees and “our plan is to grow CNET in ways unforeseen,” a Red Ventures rep told Variety. She declined to address whether the company anticipates any layoffs following the deal close, saying that “right now we’re focusing on how we grow.”
“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,” Larkin said in a statement. “Red Ventures shares our vision and is committed to realizing the full potential of our portfolio of world-class brands.”
“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,” reads a statement from Red Ventures CEO Ric Elias. “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.”
ViacomCBS originally acquired the CNET Media brand and its subsidiaries in a deal in 2008 for $1.8 Billion. The deal included all outlets in the CNET brand including its flagship tech consumer site. The CNET Media Group also includes gaming outlets like GameSpot, the Metacritic reviews-aggregation site, TVGuide.com, Chowhound, Roadshow, and B2B tech site ZDNet.
Red Ventures has around 3,000 employees across business operations in the U.S., the U.K. and Brazil. They are currently headquartered in Fort Mill, S.C. and currently own and operate various web brands and outlets. Their operations include Bankrate, the Points Guy, Healthline, MyMove and Allconnect.com. With this latest move, they plan to expand into new verticals, including consumer technology and gaming.
CNET has been around since the early days of the modern web, being founded in 1994 to cover news and reviews for technology, science and culture.