The Zagat Survey, owned by founders Tim and Nina Zagat, is on the block for $200 million. Now the question is: Who’s interested? The NY Times suggests the company would fit well with Barry Diller’s Citysearch (IACI) or that Bruce Wasserstein could merge it with New York magazine.
Founded as a newsletter in 1979, the guide books are an example of user-generated media that predates the Internet. The brand has a devoted following, including a core group of participants who contribute the quotes that are distilled into pithy restaurant reviews.
The company sells 5.5 million guides each year, though a pay wall has kept its web site relatively small, with 1.5 million registered users. The company has also struggled to grow the online business and to export its user-generated model to other industries such as hotels, nightlife, golf courses, etc.
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