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M&A Focus Returns to Social Networks with CBS Buying Last.fm


After a few weeks of acquisitions in the online advertising space, attention returns to social networks, with CBS announcing the acquisition of music site Last.fm.

CBS is paying a reported $280 million to acquire Last.fm and its 15 million users, with performance incentives on top of that. It seems CBS is fully committed to a new internet strategy, with Last.fm just one of many deals by the traditional broadcasting company.

“We see it as a chance to get new eyeballs — or in this case earlobes,” said a CBS executive familiar with the deal who spoke on condition of anonymity because it had not yet been announced.

If you happen to be a fan of Last.fm, you should prepare yourself for some future changes as CBS seeks to earn a return on that $280m price tag.

Music sales aren’t a big part of the financial picture so far, and they might not be even when CBS takes control. The minimal advertising on the site, however, will be beefed up. CBS envisions channels for music backed by corporate sponsors that will pay for the privilege every month. CBS also plans to put versions of its existing radio programming on the website.

The deal has been confirmed by the Last’s Richard Jones, who answers questions on what happens next.