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CNET Buys Gartner's TechRepublic for $23 Million

San Francisco-based CNET Networks (Nasdaq: CNET) Monday said it is buying TechRepublic from technology research firm Gartner (NYSE: IT) for $23 million in cash and stock.

TechRepublic is a Web site that focuses on information technology for professionals and the IT sector.

CNET is paying just a fraction of what Gartner paid for TechRepublic just a year ago. Gartner purchased 90 percent of TechRepublic for $80 million in March 2000. TechRepublic management and employees hold the remaining 10 percent. TechRepublic reported $4 million in sales for between September 1999 and 2000 and reported $20 million in operating cash losses for same period.

The deal over TechRepublic also solidifies a previous content agreement between the two companies.

"Right after we purchased TechRepublic, we entered into a content alliance worth CNET," says Gartner VP of Public Relations Carol Wallace. "Over the year, we saw several similarities in business models between CNET and TechRepublic and decided that TechRepublic would be on a faster track to gaining better visibility with CNET than with us."

CNET says it will add TechRepublic's 3 million newsletter subscriptions (1.2 million unique subscribers) to its own newsletter audience of 10.4 million unique subscribers.

"This is just another piece of the puzzle and its a perfect fit," says CNET Chief Strategy Officer Matthew Barzun. "We have the audience already (in News.com and ZDNet). Now we have a venue that is more focused than before.

The deal is expected to move quickly. CNET says the purchase does not need shareholder or regulatory approval and Gartner says its board has already approved the sale. The transaction is expected to close early in the third quarter.