Google is selling restaurant recommendation company Zagat to The Infatuation, a nine-year-old company that is also in the business of writing and publishing recommendations of bars and restaurants. The parties to the deal did not disclose the amount being paid for Zagat.
Google paid $151 million for Zagat in 2011, with the intention of making the company into a competitor with such restaurant-review sites as Yelp. But Google gradually started emphasizing its own data-based findings over the user reviews that are Zagat’s stock in trade.
The Infatuation was founded in 2009 by former Atlantic Records VP, marketing Chris Stang and Andrew Steinthal, who was previously VP of PR/Media at Warner Bros. Records. It reviews restaurants in such U.S. cities as New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles as well as international locations including Melbourne, Australia and Cape Town, South Africa. The company says it reaches over three million people per month and became profitable last year.
The company’s services incorporate smartphone apps, an Instagram hashtag and a texting recommendation service.
The Infatuation intends for Zagat to remain a separate brand, serving as a user-generated-content companion to the site’s existing content, which is produced by a staff of writers.
“Iconic brands don’t become available very often, and Zagat is about as iconic as it gets,” said Stang. “It is the perfect complement to what we have been building at The Infatuation.”