CNET Cuts 10% of Workforce

NEW YORK Under pressure from unhappy investors, CNET has slashed 10 percent of its workforce — or roughly 120 people. Yet Jana Partners, the investment firm that has made the most noise about its displeasure with CNET’s management, is not satisfied.

In a statement released today, Jana, which owns roughly 8 percent of CNET’s stock, slammed CNET for moving too slowly to address what it sees are major problems with the tech and lifestyle publisher. “It is astounding that it has taken years of shareholder value destruction for CNET to even start examining the basics of reversing its ongoing underperformance, and even then only after we began calling for change,” read the Jana statement. “Fundamental issues like these that we have raised should have been addressed years ago.”

In January, Jana and several other prominent CNET investors that represent 15 percent of the company’s value, including Spark Capital and Sandell Asset Management, publicly pushed for a shakeup of CNET’s board, saying the firm had significantly underperformed compared to its competitors when it comes to adding shareholder value. While CNET appears to be moving to address its declining stock price — including launching an internal task force – Jana said there is little evidence that the company’s management would be swift or effective.

“Although CNET has belatedly said it will examine these fundamental issues, shareholders should ask themselves whether there is any reason to believe that the current leadership will do so successfully,” said the statement. “The current board of directors has presided over an almost 50 percent stock price decline in the last two years through yesterday, yet they failed to demonstrate any sense of urgency to address these basic issues until publicly called on to do so.”