Popular technology-focused CNET has been purchased by major television network CBS in a merger likely to benefit both companies.   The deal, expected to close in the third quarter, is a win-win for both companies. CBS instantly be

comes one of the 10 most popular Internet companies in the U.S., with a combined 54 million unique users a month in the U.S. and nearly 200 million users worldwide. CNET, meanwhile, can appease shareholders who have been unhappy with the company's poor stock performance and ineffective business operations.   Under the deal, CBS promises $11.50 a share for the technology pioneer, representing a 45 percent premium to CNET's closing price on Wednesday of $7.95 a share.    "We're thrilled to join CBS and combine our interactive media experience with CBS's world-class content," CNet CEO Neil Ashe said in the statement.   Although it will be combined with CBS' Interactive division, CNet will remain in San Francisco. And its Web properties - CNet, BNET, Gamespot, Chow and others - will continue as distinct sites and brands, added Ashe, who expects to stay with CNet after the deal closes.   CBS is also thrilled about the deal. “CBS stands for premium content and unparalleled reach, and CNET Networks will add a tremendous platform to extend our complementary entertainment, news, sports, music and information content to a whole new global audience,” said CEO Les Moonves in the statement.   Analysts believe that CNET's impressive collection of niche websites will likely broaden CBS's appeal and increase its value to Internet advertisers. Traditional media companies have continually been losing advertising dollars to Internet advertising. The move on CBS's part follows a string of similar acquisitions by other media companies.   In 2005, the New York Times acquired search site About.com and Dow Jones bought Marketwatch. Similarly, Microsoft made a notable attempt to buy Yahoo, but later dropped it's bid in disagreement with Yahoo's price demand.   By Kathleen Clark   FEEDBACK For comments on this article, email us at editorial@atelier-us.com