Peter Kafka

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Condé Nast Goes Shopping, Spends $14 Million on ZipList

Condé Nast hasn’t gone shopping for digital assets for several years. But that’s changing now: The magazine publisher has just picked up ZipList, a shopping list/recipe planner.

Condé wouldn’t disclose a purchase price but people familiar with the transaction tell me it’s around $14 million. That number includes earnouts for some of the two-year-old company’s employees.

So no, it’s no Instagram. But it’s still significant for Condé to spend money buying new digital stuff. And the company intends to buy more, says president Bob Sauerberg: “We’re out there looking.”

At the end of 2010, Condé’s parent company Advance Publications announced that it had set up a $500 million M&A kitty and hired former Yahoo executive Andrew Siegel to run the fund.

ZipList, which lets users find recipes online and assemble shopping lists which they can sync to their iPhone and Android phones, will continue to operate as a standalone brand. But Sauerberg says Condé will integrate the service with its existing online food brands, like Epicurious. “Think of Condé Nast as one of ZipList’s first new customers,” he said.

ZipList already has integrations with other publishers, including Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Martha Stewart was also an investor in Ziplist, along with Softbank Capital. The start-up raised a reported $4.5 million, which means investors will get their money back on this one, likely with a modest return.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work