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Weekly News Digest

July 24, 2000 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

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CNET Networks Acquiring ZDNet

CNET Networks, Inc. (http://www.cnet.com) and ZDNet (http://www.zdnet.com) have announced that they have signed a definitive merger agreement by which CNET will acquire ZDNet for $1.6 billion in a fairly complicated stock purchase involving both Ziff-Davis, Inc. stock and ZDNet stock, which trades separately. The acquisition is seen as a way to create a global leader in providing technology news and product information to businesses and individuals.

According to the press release, which cited reports from Media Metrix, together the companies have an unduplicated online audience of 16.6 million unique monthly users and would rank as the eighth largest property on the Internet. An article about the acquisition on TheStreet.com site (http://www.thestreet.com/brknews/internet/1006762.html) quoted an analyst at Goldman Sachs, who stated that ZDNet has a lead over CNET in the enterprise market, while CNET has a larger audience in the consumer home market. While the two are usually seen as rivals, the company stresses that the move will unite two complementary Internet powerhouses. CNET also produces television and radio programming and owns MySimon, a comparison online shopping service.

Ziff-Davis has had a complex corporate history, and it's often hard to remember who owns what or even what's left of the company. Prior to the completion of this merger and as a condition to the merger, Ziff-Davis, as previously announced, will spin off its trade show and conference business (including COMDEX) as a separate company, Key3Media. Softbank, the Japanese Internet company that owns a majority of Ziff-Davis' voting stock, has agreed to vote its shares in favor of the buyout, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter. Last December, Ziff-Davis sold off its publishing business, which included popular technology titles like PC Magazine and Yahoo! Internet Life, to the buyout firm Willis Stein & Partners.

Source: CNET Networks, Inc.



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