NT September 1997
Zip2 acquires Pantheon
By Mike Tartar
Consolidation is nothing new to the prepress industry, but it¼s now
being seen in new media as well, with the announcement in July that Zip2
Corp. has acquired Pantheon Inc.
Pantheon products and staff will now fall under the Zip2 banner, making
a large number of U.S. newspapers its customers. Terms of the acquisition
were not disclosed.
Zip2 plans to integrate Pantheon's product line, including its top-selling
Builder, Interpreter and Community Suite software, into the Zip2 suite
of online products.
Recently, Zip2 has been working on its new City Guides, which includes
dining and entertainment listings to help newspapers compete with local
"We view the local online content and services business as an extra,
attractive, emerging market with the major participants being newspapers,"
Richard Sorkin, Zip2's CEO, said.
With the buyout, newspapers can use Pantheon software to import information
into the Zip2 system.
"We will try to offer greater value to our customers," Sorkin said.
Both companies were started in 1995 and have found success in different
areas of new media development for newspapers. Pantheon has worked on
allowing newspapers to convert stories to HTML documents automatically,
with a number of front-end systems.
Zip2 works on the other end, helping newspapers become more profitable.
"Pantheon and Zip2 are a perfect match," said Joe Snell, president of
Pantheon, who is to become the vice president of the Data Integration
Division of Zip2. "The pairing of these technologies will offer a complete
end-to-end solution for newspapers, providing them the tools and services
to truly become the online hub for information within their community.
"There's a great marriage of the capabilities of the two companies,"
According to Pantheon, the companies only overlap on 1 percent of their
business and only 30 percent of where the companies where headed prior
to the acquisition.
According to both sides, the acquisition came together after Zip2 began
looking in January for ways to improve its business. Once Zip2 focused
on Pantheon, the deal took only 60 days to close.Reaction to the acquisition
from Pantheon and Zip2 customers has been "favorable," according to Sorkin.
"The benefits to our mutual customers is obvious," he said.
The company will continue to sell the Pantheon product line to newspapers
as a set or as individual pieces.
Zip2¼s product line includes City Guide, Yellow Pages directory, Real
Estate and Auto Guides, and mapping and door-to-door directions. The company
recently launched its City Guide with the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News
Before the acquisition the Zip2 Newspaper Network comprised over 72
partners and Pantheon had work with over 200 newspapers in bringing their
content online. Zip2's partners include Knight-Ridder Inc., Landmark Communications
Inc., newspapers in the Times Mirror Co., McClatchy and Scripps Howard
chains and New Century Network.
Key customers for Pantheon include Hollinger's Chicago Newspaper Network,
The Dallas Morning News and MediaNews Technologies.
The newly combined company will be based at Zip2's headquarters in Mountain
For more information visit http://www.zip2.com.
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