Jana Drops CNet Fight

NEW YORK (Reuters) – CNET Networks Inc shareholder Jana Partners LLC on Thursday said it dropped its effort to win control of CNET's board in light of CBS Corp's plan to buy the Internet media company.

Jana, which owns about 10 percent of CNET voting stock, had argued that CNET was falling behind peers like Yahoo Inc. In April, a group led by Jana floated a range of proposals, including tying up with a popular online advertising platform such as Google's Doubleclick.

But in May, CBS offered to pay about $1.8 billion for CNET, in an effort to bolster the television broadcaster's search across the Internet.

“In view of the proposed acquisition … and the likelihood that this transaction will be completed regardless of any action taken by (Jana) prior to (CNET's) next annual meeting of stockholders, (Jana has) ceased to pursue the conduct of a proxy contest regarding the Issuer,” Jana said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

In its effort to shake up CNET's board, Jana in January partnered with investment funds Sandell Asset Management Corp and Velocity Interactive Group, venture capital firm Spark Capital and technology entrepreneur Paul Gardi of Alex Interactive Media.

Jana said on Thursday it terminated a related agreement with Sandell, as of June 18.

Shares of CNET were unchanged on Wednesday at $11.48, just shy of CBS's offer of $11.50 a share.