Friday, September 9, 2011 myBiz Blog
MarketWatch 9.11.11 by Katie Coon

In the news this week:  Google acquires Zagat, ESPN holds onto NFL, and Amazon and the state of California battle over tax deal.

Google acquires restaurant ratings firm Zagat

Google Inc. took its biggest step yet in creating original content for its millions of users worldwide, snapping up the restaurant ratings guide Zagat to push into the growing market of online review services that attract major advertising dollars.  With the acquisition of Zagat, Google can tap into millions of small neighborhood businesses to generate adverting revenue. It's looking to bring more local information to its search results and believes it found the perfect partner in Zagat, whose burgundy-colored pocket guides have been a restaurant-industry staple for the last 29 years.  Terms of the Zagat acquisition, including the deal's price, were not disclosed. It was reported at the time that the company might fetch as much as $200 million.

Source: LA Times

ESPN Holds On to NFL

Cable channel ESPN will pay $15.2 billion over eight years to continue carrying National Football League games, a sharp increase for the U.S.'s most-watched sport as leagues wrestle a bigger cut of rising cable-television bills.  The new deal extends ESPN's current deal to air "Monday Night Football," which was slated to expire in 2014, through the 2021 season. It also includes rights to air 500 new hours of NFL-branded programs about football, and expands ESPN's digital rights, allowing it for instance to beam its games to subscribers on tablet computers like Apple Inc.'s iPad.

Source: WSJ

Amazon and California in Deal on Tax

Lobbyists and lawmakers worked on Thursday to prepare new legislation that would give the retailer a one-year reprieve from collecting sales tax in the state. If Amazon cannot get a change in federal tax policy by next June, it will start collecting the tax in September 2012.  Amazon has been resisting a measure passed by legislators at the beginning of the summer mandating that e-commerce companies with subsidiaries in the state collect the taxes. It has spent more than $5 million to gather 500,000 signatures to put the issue on the ballot next June.