The website of financial news channel CNBC is to merge with the MSN MoneyCentral site of Microsoft-owned portal MSN.

The move marks parent network NBC’s continuing retreat from the web, following the decision to close its NBCi portal earlier this month [WAMN: 10-Apr-01]. has been cutting staff since the New Year, reducing its workforce from 125 to 50. Although some will be offered employment by Microsoft, which will retain a small unit at CNBC’s headquarters in Fort Lee, New Jersey, it is not yet known how many will lose their jobs. has failed to match the cable channel’s popularity, attracting only 1.3 million users in March. This compares badly with rival specialist finance sites such as (3.6m users in March), and even worse with the financial sections of more general portals such as AOL (11.9m) and Yahoo! (5.5m). In addition, MSN MoneyCentral itself drew in 5.2m users last month.

Following the merger, the Microsoft-owned site will be rebranded CNBC MoneyCentral and will use content from the cable channel. Meanwhile, the software giant will be responsible for selling most of the advertising.

News source: New York Times