Taste Makers About to Make Money Too

According to The New York Times, Zagat Survey is for sale and may fetch as much as $200 million.
The Zagats, who met at Yale Law School, could not find a publisher for their annual Manhattan restaurant rankings guide in the early 1980s, so they began publishing it themselves and delivering copies to any bookstore that would stock them. They set up a publishing company in part to get tax deductions for meals.
The business has since expanded wildly with international guides in multiple languages and into new categories. The company also began making custom guides for corporations. For example, Walt Disney commissioned a guide for attractions at its theme parks and WellPoint, the health insurer, commissioned a guide on doctors in its network. In both cases, the rankings and reviews were completed independently of the companies that paid for them.
The article suggests that the media company would make a great acquisition for a carrier looking for a mobile content play. I can also see a credit card company wanting to buy this firm. Am Ex is already deep into custom publishing with titles like Travel & Leisure and Food & Wine.

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.