The New York Times clinches the quotation joke with its lead on the story that Zagat Survey is up for sale: “A ‘clever and sharp’ restaurant guide company with ‘telling’ rankings and ‘a penchant for quote marks’ from its thousands of ‘in-the-know’ reviewers is ‘on the block.’”
It seems that while Zagat guides outsell Michelin, the company hasn’t been able to make the leap to the Internet, and its founders, Tim and Nina Zagat, think they’ve expanded it as far as they can. So they hired Goldman Sachs to suss out investors. The Times speculates on who might belly up to buy the burgundy bible. Barry Diller, owner of Citysearch? Bruce Wasserstein, publisher of New York magazine? AT&T? If you’ve been looking for that “primo business opportunity,” Zagat could be yours for an estimated $200 million, which Eater calls “a drop in the bucket for an Internet company or a wealthy executive.”
One interesting tidbit in the Times article: Tim and Nina started their publishing company in part as a way to get tax deductions for meals. It’s heartwarming to know that bilking the taxman can have such fruitful results.