Google Inc. (GOOG) acquired Zagat Survey LLC, the review and ratings service known for its burgundy- colored restaurant guides, bringing it features aimed at local businesses and advertisers.
Zagat will add an array of reviews of hotels, food, shopping and other categories, Mountain View, California-based Google said today in a blog post. The announcement hurt shares of OpenTable Inc. (OPEN), a Google partner that lets users review restaurants and make reservations online.
The deal marries the world’s biggest search engine with a company that got its start in print 32 years ago. Zagat, famous for reviews that mix quotes from different users, will build on Google’s current services, such as Places, which helps local businesses call attention to themselves in search results.
“Moving forward, Zagat will be a cornerstone of our local offering -- delighting people with their impressive array of reviews, ratings and insights, while enabling people everywhere to find extraordinary (and ordinary) experiences around the corner and around the world,”
Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president of local, maps and location services, said in the blog posting.
Change of Plans
Zagat, based in New York, had said in June that it decided against selling the company and intended instead to expand with new investments to tap growth in its Internet business.
In announcing the deal today, Zagat framed it in the form of a review: “Zagat, a ‘pioneer in user-generated content’ and creator of the world’s most ‘influential’ and ‘trusted’ consumer reviews, has been acquired by another ‘renowned innovator,’ Google.”
OpenTable, meanwhile, relies on Google and other affiliates for 5 percent to 10 percent of its traffic, according to an August conference call. Shares of the San Francisco-based company fell as much as 13 percent today, reaching their lowest point in a year. The stock dropped $5.68, or 9.1 percent, to $57.05 at 12:31 p.m. New York time on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
Google’s shares, down 10 percent this year before today, climbed $3.32 to $537.35.
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