The Infatuation raises $30M from Jeffrey Katzenberg’s WndrCo to bring Zagat into the digital age

WndrCo, the consumer tech investment and holding company founded by longtime Hollywood executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, has invested $30 million in The Infatuation, a restaurant discovery platform.

WndrCo, the consumer tech investment and holding company founded by longtime Hollywood executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, has invested $30 million in The Infatuation, a restaurant discovery platform.

The Infatuation made waves earlier this year when it purchased Zagat from Google, which had paid $151 million for the 40-year-old company in 2011. Despite efforts to makeover the Zagat app, the search giant ultimately decided to unload the perennial restaurant review and recommendation service and focus on expanding its database of restaurant recommendations organically.

New York-based The Infatuation was founded by music industry vets Chris Stang and Andrew Steinthal in 2009. It has previously raised $3.5 million for its mobile app, events, newsletter and personalized SMS-based recommendation tool.

Stang told TechCrunch this morning that they plan to use a good chunk of the funds to develop the new Zagat platform, which will be kept separate from The Infatuation.

“The first thing we want to do before we build anything is spend a lot of time researching how people have used Zagat in the past, how they want to use it in the future, what a community-driven platform could look like and how to apply community reviews and ratings to the brand,” said Stang, The Infatuation’s chief executive officer. “Zagat’s roots are in user-generated content. … What we are doing now is thinking through what that looks like with new tech applied to it. What it looks like in the digital age. How [we can] take our domain expertise and that legendary brand and make something new with it.”

The Infatuation will also expand to new cities beginning this fall with launches in Boston and Philadelphia. It’s already active in a dozen or so U.S. cities including Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco. The startup’s first and only international location is London.

Katzenberg, who began his Hollywood career at Paramount Pictures, began raising up to $2 billion for WndrCo about a year ago. Since then, he’s unveiled WndrCo’s new mobile video startup NewTV, which has raised $1 billion and hired Meg Whitman, the former president and CEO of Hewlett Packard, as CEO.

On top of that, WndrCo has invested in MixcloudAxiosNodeFlowspace, Whistle Sports, TYT Network and others.

Given The Infatuation founders’ experience in the entertainment industry, a partnership with Katzenberg was natural.

“We really felt like between content and technology they had … expertise on both sides,” Stang said. “The Infatuation is at its best when great content intersects with great technology, to find a fund that was perfectly suited to that was exciting.”

The Infatuation raises $30M from Jeffrey Katzenberg’s WndrCo to bring Zagat into the digital age

WndrCo, the consumer tech investment and holding company founded by longtime Hollywood executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, has invested $30 million in The Infatuation, a restaurant discovery platform.

WndrCo, the consumer tech investment and holding company founded by longtime Hollywood executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, has invested $30 million in The Infatuation, a restaurant discovery platform.

The Infatuation made waves earlier this year when it purchased Zagat from Google, which had paid $151 million for the 40-year-old company in 2011. Despite efforts to makeover the Zagat app, the search giant ultimately decided to unload the perennial restaurant review and recommendation service and focus on expanding its database of restaurant recommendations organically.

New York-based The Infatuation was founded by music industry vets Chris Stang and Andrew Steinthal in 2009. It has previously raised $3.5 million for its mobile app, events, newsletter and personalized SMS-based recommendation tool.

Stang told TechCrunch this morning that they plan to use a good chunk of the funds to develop the new Zagat platform, which will be kept separate from The Infatuation.

“The first thing we want to do before we build anything is spend a lot of time researching how people have used Zagat in the past, how they want to use it in the future, what a community-driven platform could look like and how to apply community reviews and ratings to the brand,” said Stang, The Infatuation’s chief executive officer. “Zagat’s roots are in user-generated content. … What we are doing now is thinking through what that looks like with new tech applied to it. What it looks like in the digital age. How [we can] take our domain expertise and that legendary brand and make something new with it.”

The Infatuation will also expand to new cities beginning this fall with launches in Boston and Philadelphia. It’s already active in a dozen or so U.S. cities including Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco. The startup’s first and only international location is London.

Katzenberg, who began his Hollywood career at Paramount Pictures, began raising up to $2 billion for WndrCo about a year ago. Since then, he’s unveiled WndrCo’s new mobile video startup NewTV, which has raised $1 billion and hired Meg Whitman, the former president and CEO of Hewlett Packard, as CEO.

On top of that, WndrCo has invested in MixcloudAxiosNodeFlowspace, Whistle Sports, TYT Network and others.

Given The Infatuation founders’ experience in the entertainment industry, a partnership with Katzenberg was natural.

“We really felt like between content and technology they had … expertise on both sides,” Stang said. “The Infatuation is at its best when great content intersects with great technology, to find a fund that was perfectly suited to that was exciting.”

With no white knight in sight, Tesla shares plummet from Musk’s tweet-related highs

Investors definitely aren’t stoked by the deafening silence coming from Tesla after its chief executive announced in a tweet that he plans to drop a fat sack of cash on public shareholders in a bid to take the company private. Tesla’s shares have tumbled from their post-tweet highs as investors are now left with the embers […]

Investors definitely aren’t stoked by the deafening silence coming from Tesla after its chief executive announced in a tweet that he plans to drop a fat sack of cash on public shareholders in a bid to take the company private.

Tesla’s shares have tumbled from their post-tweet highs as investors are now left with the embers of what is increasingly looking like a Musk-induced pipe dream to lift the economic burdens the company faces by delisting it.

At the close of the market Tesla shares were down $17.89 to $352.45, basically erasing the gains it had earned based on speculation of an acquirer at a $420 price tag.

Days after Tesla chief executive Elon Musk tweeted a $420 per share buyout offer for the company, no new details have emerged and several potential contenders for Tesla’s white knight have basically said “It wasn’t me.”

Reports from The New York Times, Axios, and Bloomberg indicate that none of the likely buyers — the private equity firms, multinational banks, sovereign wealth funds, or SoftBank — had approached or been approached by Tesla about the take-private transaction.

Dan Primack reported in Axios that “it’s none of the usual suspects on the debt side (i.e. big Wall Street banks). Nor many on the equity side, such as big strategics (not Apple or Uber), private equity (not KKR, Mithril, Silver Lake, TPG, etc.) nor deeper financial pockets (not SoftBank or Mubadala).”

That’s kind of everyone that would be involved in what would be the biggest take-private deal in history (Primack valued Tesla at around $85 billion including debt).

Indeed, the New York Times noted that Wall Street banks are only now looking at ways to get in on the action.

From the Times’ report:

Executives at banks including Goldman Sachs and Citigroup are discussing ways a deal could be structured, angling to land the potentially prestigious assignment of taking the maker of electric cars off public markets, according to people familiar with the discussions. Bankers and lawyers on Wall Street said any deal is likely to be valued at $10 billion to $20 billion.

The $20 billion figure, far lower than what would be required for full privatization, assumes that Tesla is only looking to reduce the number of shareholders on its cap table so that it is no longer required to list on a major exchange. The argument is that with fewer shareholders, the company would not be subject to the whims of short sellers as easily as it is on the open markets.

That’s the publicly stated rationale that Musk has given for his desire to take the company private.

While some speculate about what Elon may have been smoking when he made his (potential) bid public on Twitter. SEC regulators are more concerned with whether he’d told investors he had a quality deal instead of just shake.

Clouding the picture is the large stake that Saudi Arabia’s investment fund had taken in the company right before Musk baked short sellers’ positions with the buyout tweet and the promise of financing.

Some conspiracy-minded speculators on HackerNews even theorized that the tweet was an attempt to forestall a hostile takeover from the Saudis.

No matter the rationale, Musk may have more to worry about than just Tesla’s stock price should more detailed plans of the financing not materialize. The Securities and Exchange Commission is knocking, and they don’t take too kindly to the practice of defrauding investors.