In a media marriage sparked by the heat of competition, CNet was set to take over ZDNet last week in a $1.6 billion stock swap. The move brings one of CNet's principal Web competitors for technical news into its camp. As part of the deal, CNet also acquires Ziff-Davis' Computer Shopper publication and its online educational service, Smart Planet. CNet claims the new combination gives it the eighth-largest Internet property, with 16.6 million different users monthly, reaching 22% of the current Web-surfing audience. "ZDNet's established international presence will quickly propel our combined company into a position of global leadership in technology media," said Shelby Bonnie, CEO of CNet Networks. CNet will pick up the outstanding common stock of Ziff-Davis and issue 50 million shares of common stock in the new company. CNet previously had 85.8 million shares outstanding. Ziff-Davis stockholders will own a 35% stake in the new company. Softbank, which holds the majority of Ziff-Davis voting stock, is backing the merger. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.