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CBS Nabs CNet, GE Unplugs
CBS buys tech site CNet to become a major Internet player. GE is reportedly looking to sell its 100-year-old appliance business as it switches to higher-margin sectors. And North Carolina feels the love, again, in a real estate firm
 

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EWS AT A GLANCE

CBS buys tech news site CNet

CBS agreed to buy technology-oriented online news provider CNet Networks for about $1.75 billion, or $11.50 a share. The all-cash offer is a 45 percent premium on CNet's closing price yesterday. (AP in Yahoo! Finance) CBS said the deal will make it one of the 10 most popular Internet companies in the U.S. CNet sites include CNET News, GameSpot, ZDNet, TV-dot-com, and mp3-dot-com. (MarketWatch) "There are very few opportunities to acquire a profitable, growing, well-managed Internet company like CNet Networks," said CBS chief executive Les Moonves. Some CNet shareholders, led by Jana Partners, have been pushing for changes they say will make CNet more profitable. (Fortune in CNNMoney.com)

GE looks to sell appliance unit

General Electric is preparing to auction off its appliance unit for $5 billion to $8 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported. GE's appliance business, which dates back to 1907, made the company a household name. (AP in Yahoo! Finance) But today the appliance unit, hurt by high metal prices and the housing slump, brings in only about $7 billion of GE's $173 billion in annual revenue. (MarketWatch) Since 2002, GE has sold off $75 billion in businesses, including its plastics unit, and bought about $50 billion in faster-growing sectors like aviation. The appliance unit "isn't a piece of business at this point that has got much more incremental opportunity for GE," said analyst Nicholas Heymann at Sterne, Agee & Leach Inc. (Bloomberg)

Barclays takes $3.3 billion in writedowns

Barclays PLC, Britain's third-largest bank, said its quarterly profit fell from a year ago, dragged down by $3.3 billion in new credit-related writedowns at its Barclays Capital investment bank. The writedown was partly offset by $1.4 billion in gains due to changes in the value of its debt. (MarketWatch) Barclays said its investment bank was still profitable in the quarter, as were its other units. But it said it wasn't ruling out a rights issue to replenish its depleted capital. "Hats off to them for being in a position where they are not forced into this," said analyst Alex Potter at Collins Steward, but it might reduce uncertainty if the bank decides to "bite the bullet now" and recapitalize. (Reuters)

Sweet home, Carolina

For the second year in a row, North Carolina captured the top spot on Relocate-America-dot-com’s list of the 100 best places to live in the U.S., athough Charlotte took top billing this year while last year’s winner, Asheville, dropped to No. 7. San Antonio, Texas, was runner up. More than 2,000 places were nominated this year. The site’s editors consider a number of factors, including growth, education and job situations, crime rates, and housing market when making the rankings. Audience input is weighed, too. “North Carolina is very active on our radar,” said Steve Nickerson of real estate firm HomeRoute, which runs the site. “It continues to get a flood of interest from all over.” (MarketWatch)
 

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