Google has been looking for a way to strengthen their searches, including in the restaurant arena. They tried to buy Yelp for $500 million in 2009, but that deal fell through. They then started Places, but it hasn’t taken off the way they would have liked. They turned to long-time trusted brand Zagat, the restaurant guide started by Tim and Nina Zagat. Zagat guides have been around in print for a long time, and they now have a solid online and mobile presence (including an app), even with a paid subscription model for premium content. Their trusted 30-point ratings in reviews have amassed an impressive amount of information about restaurants.
Zagat was put up for sale a few years ago, hiring Goldman Sachs as advisors, but stopped trying after six months after having difficulties in the sales process. Google acquired Zagat for an undisclosed sum, and the Zagats will stay on as advisors.
Google’s Marissa Meyer announced on twitter: “Acquisition announcement haiku: Delightful deal done; Zagat and Google now one; foodies have more fun!”