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Ziff Davis Media reclaims significant part of business sold to CNET

Ziff Davis Media Inc. is reclaiming a significant portion of its Internet and print magazine business under a revised agreement with CNET Networks Inc., company officials said late Monday.Beginning in April, Ziff Davis will regain control of the 11 magazine brands and Web addresses that had been handed over to CNET when the San Francisco-based technology news and consumer information company acquired Ziff Davis’ ZDNet subsidiary in a stock swap then-valued at $1.6 billion.Financial terms of the revised agreement were not disclosed, but Ziff Davis will receive a termination fee upon eliminating its royalty agreements with CNET.The merger last fall was viewed at the time by both companies as a way to extend each others’ global audience, creating what they said was the Internet’s eighth-largest property in terms of visitors.Under the revised deal, Ziff Davis will share with CNET for one year the rights to the content of the 11 magazines, which include PC Magazine, Ziff Davis SMART BUSINESS for the New Economy, eWEEK, Interactive Week, Smrt Partner, Yahoo! Internet Life, FamilyPC, and Electronic Gaming Monthly.The non-exclusive licensing agreement will terminate on March 1, 2002. Under the original contract, the content and URL license was to terminate in 2005.“While ZDNet has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with Ziff Davis Media, the merger between ZDNet and CNET Networks has caused us to re-evaluate our contract,’’ Dan Rosensweig, president of CNET Networks, said in a statement.CNET officials were not available for additional comment late Monday. Erin Gaudreau, a Ziff Davis spokeswoman, would not comment on financial terms of the revised agreement but said it was reached “amicably.’’The sale of the Web sites and magazine brands was the portion of the acquisition that Ziff Davis was “least happy’’ with from the beginning, she said. “Through negotiations, we were able to win it back.’’Before the merger CNET was a top rival of ZDNet.“This revised agreement ensures that we can now control the equity, growth and future of our brands across all media channels from print to online,’’ James D. Dunning Jr., chairman and CEO of Ziff Davis Media, said in a statement.