CBS Acquires Last.fm for $280 Million

CBS said Wednesday it had acquired Last.fm in a $280 million cash transaction, continuing its effort to move into the online entertainment industry.

For some, the acquisition was unexpected. "CBS as a buyer though is surprising and is a sure sign that the media giant is getting serious about Web 2.0," TechCrunch's Michael Arrington.

The company recently purchased stock market site Wallstrip.com and strategically invested in both Spot Runner and Joost. Additionally, it has begun to offer its content across the web through the CBS Audience Network.

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Founded in 2002, Last.fm currently has about 15 million active users according to company data. The site, like Pandora, mixes social networking with music to offer users personalized streaming music stations.

Users in about 200 countries access the site on a regular basis, with a majority of them coming from the US, Britain, Germany, Poland, Brazil and Japan. The user demographic tends to be the youth, which is increasingly prized among web advertisers.

After the acquisition, the site will continue to be independently operated by the original management team, although they have the additional task of working with other CBS divisions to integrate the site and its technologies with other CBS sites.

"Last.fm adds a terrific interactive extension to all of our properties and also is a huge step in CBS Corporation's overall strategy of expanding our reach online to transition from a content company into an audience company," CBS president and CEO Les Moonves said.

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