Google just announced it bought Zagat.
Google declined to comment how much it acquired Zagat for.
Zagat wanted to sell in 2008 for a reported $200 million. It took itself off the block when it couldn’t get an offer.
Google will likely use Zagat ratings to bolster its Google Offers product.
Google Offers is a daily deals service that was launched after Google failed to acquire Groupon.
With Zagat’s ratings and reviews, Google will be able to compete directly with Yelp. (Another company Google failed to acquire.)
Zagat also owns Zagat Wine, a wine club that offers monthly wine shipments at discounted prices. But we’re told that isn’t part of the acquisition.
Open Table is down about more than 10% on the news.
We interviewed Zagat CEO Tim Zagat earlier this summer, where he spoke about the company’s future in digital.
Here’s the full announcement from Google, written by Marissa Mayer:
“Did you know there’s a place in Menlo Park near the Safeway that has a 27 food rating?” One of my friends asked me that about two years ago, and I was struck because I immediately knew what it meant. Food rating… 30 point scale… Zagat. And the place… had to be good. With no other context, I instantly recognised and trusted Zagat’s review and recommendation.
So, today, I’m thrilled that Google has acquired Zagat. Moving forward, Zagat will be a cornerstone of our local offering—delighting people with their impressive array of reviews, ratings and insights, while enabling people everywhere to find extraordinary (and ordinary) experiences around the corner and around the world.
With Zagat, we gain a world-class team that has more experience in consumer based-surveys, recommendations and reviews than anyone else in the industry. Founded by Tim and Nina Zagat more than 32 years ago, Zagat has established a trusted and well-loved brand the world over, operating in 13 categories and more than 100 cities. The Zagats have demonstrated their ability to innovate and to do so with tremendous insight. Their surveys may be one of the earliest forms of UGC (user-generated content)—gathering restaurant recommendations from friends, computing and distributing ratings before the Internet as we know it today even existed. Their iconic pocket-sized guides with paragraphs summarizing and “snippeting” sentiment were “mobile” before “mobile” involved electronics. Today, Zagat provides people with a democratized, authentic and comprehensive view of where to eat, drink, stay, shop and play worldwide based on millions of reviews and ratings.
For all of these reasons, I’m incredibly excited to collaborate with Zagat to bring the power of Google search and Google Maps to their products and users and to bring the innovation, trust and their wealth of experience to ours.
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