Learning to play nicely with publishers may have helped iPad magazine startup Zite earn a payday. The company’s iPad app is reportedly the subject of great interest from CNN, which could be prepared to pay up to $25 million for the operation.
Techvibes, a Canada-focused tech news site, reported Monday that Zite is in talks with CNN to sell the company for between $20 million to $25 million. Zite’s iPad app builds customized magazines for readers based on their interests and their social media feeds, such as Twitter and Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Reader. The app got off to a rocky debut when several publishers sent Zite cease-and-desist letters complaining about the user interface of the app, which presents the content of a news story in an easy-to-read format that also strips away the ads.
CEO Mark Johnson told mocoNews in April that it had ironed out most of the issues with publishers and was mostly focused on refining its algorithms. Johnson did not respond to a request for comment on the reported deal.
For its part, CNN declined to comment, saying “we do not comment on speculation.”