In a coincidence of sorts, 3 different mergers were announced around the same time last week. The popular U.S. based broadcasting company CBS will buy web publisher CNET networks for $1.8 billion. IAC, owners of Ask.com will buy Lexico for $100 million in cash and Comcast will buy Plaxo.
The merger with CNet Networks will put CBS in the top 10 list of web publishers, with 54 million visitors per month, and it will reach 82% of web users in the U.S.A. All the sites run by CNET, including News.com, GameSpot, MP3.com, MySimon, and ZDNet. will be integrated with CBS’s interactive brand operations on completion of the deal.
President of CBS Quincy Smith says, “together we will have a terrific opportunity to grow our established businesses and build new attractive verticals of content. This is the beginning of an era for CBS and CNET networks.” It is very likely, however, that there may be some hiccups during the integration process, as CBS is known to be lavish in its spending habits while CNET is known to be rather thrifty.
In the second big merger, InterActive Corp (IAC), owner of Ask.com, plans to buy Lexico, which owns Dictionary.com, Thesaurus.com, and Reference.com, for $100 million in cash. This move is expected to improve the position of Ask.com in the search engine market, as the new sites will drive 145 million additional users per month.
The merger with Lexicon will also enable Ask.com to earn more revenue through display advertisements shown to people asking basic questions, as most searches on Ask are for reference material.
Finally, media company Comcast plans to buy Plaxo, which is a social networking site. Plaxo CEO Ben Golub says, Comcast plans to “bring the Social Media experience to mainstream consumers.” The financial details of this deal have not been disclosed yet.
The idea is that Comcast could be Plaxo’s launching pad, helping the company grow its user base beyond its current 50 million users. Plaxo will remain an independent operation in Silicon Valley, providing the universal address book for Comcast’s SmartZone communications center, slated to launch this year. Plaxo will also work on socially enabling the Comcast.net portal and Comcast Interactive Media’s Fancast and Fandango properties.