In a report that appears in Reuters, Google’s parent Alphabet, has been considering a sale of reviews publication Zagat. The company was purchased back in September, 2011 for a reported $151 million after a failed deal to acquire Yelp.
At the time of purchase, Google needed local reviews content to better compete in local search with rivals, like Yelp and TripAdvisor. Marissa Mayer had been responsible for the acquisition. Not even a year later, Mayer become the CEO of Yahoo.
The Reuters report says, “Google has held informal talks in recent months with multiple companies about offloading Zagat . . . Any deal would likely involve the Zagat brand name and website . . .”
It’s uncertain of if the sale will even happen. If it does happen, even the potential price is uncertain. Chances are though, if Zagat does sell, it will probably fetch less than what Google paid for it in 2011.
The Zagat Survey, as it was called originally, was founded in 1979 by Tim and Nina Zagat. It was known for the distinctive series of red, printed guides to local restaurants and hotels.
So who could end up buying Zagat? Well, here are some possibilities:
- An established traditional publisher (magazine or newspaper)
- An online competitor (e.g., TripAdvisor, OpenTable [now owned by Priceline])
- Private equity (which had an ownership stake prior to the sale to Google)
- Some private investor group that saw value in the brand and had a plan to expand it into additional categories
- Wild cards: Yelp or another social media publisher