Family Puts Zagat Empire Up for Sale

Unable to gain traction online, founders ask Goldman to find a buyer
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2008 9:55 AM CST
The 2008 Zagat, New York's leading food guide, is on display here. Its owners are looking to sell out.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The founders and publishers of the Zagat guides have hired Goldman Sachs to find a buyer for their stake in the company, reports the New York Times. The value of the international icon may top $200 million—not bad for a company that grew out of a two-page typed list, but chump change for a media behemoth such as Citysearch parent IAC or a credit card company.

The enterprise was valued at $100 million in 2000, when the Zagat family sold one-third to a private equity group. Zagat sold 5.5 million guidebooks last year in more than 100 countries and has 1.5 million registered online users, but it may have hit a wall. "It’s a fabulous brand," says a friend and retired ad exec, "but they need the kind of resources that organic growth cannot sustain."