This morning, Tim and Nina Zagat announced that they are ready to put Zagat Survey up for sale, though technically, the phraseology ran something along the lines of exploring "strategic opportunities to grow its business." Of course, one of the "strategic opportunities" is the outright sale of the whole shebang, which has been valued in the neighborhood of $200 million. Thus far, the odds on favorite to take Zagat is Barry Diller's Interactive Corp:
The sale is likely to attract broad interest and the company could become a trophy asset for a media mogul seeking a bit of extra gloss and power. The business could as naturally end up in the hands of Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp, which owns Citysearch, as it could in Bruce Wasserstein's company, publisher of New York Magazine, or even in Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.Also of note: when the Zagats sold portions of the company in 2000, the brand was estimated to be worth $100 million; one of the investors at the time was well-known Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers.
It is unclear how large a price Zagat will attract. While the company is a worldwide brand, its actual business is much smaller. People briefed on the company's finances suggest the company could be valued at more than $200 million, which would still be a drop in the bucket for an Internet company or a wealthy executive.
· Zagats Ready to Cash Out, Whole Shebang Can be Yours for $200M [~E~]
· Zagat Family Is Putting Guide Empire on Market [NYT]