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."