Vancouver’s Zite to be acquired by CNN for $20-25 Million?

Last week’s GROW Conference in Vancouver was a huge success. All week the city was abuzz as Canada’s smartest entrepreneurs descended on the city along with venture capitalists from across Canada and south of the border.

One of the by-products of having so many Silicon Valley venture capitalists in one place at one time is that there is a fair amount of chatter. While angels and VCs are a little hesitant to tell media about their prospective deals, they’re happy to share what they’re hearing on the street. And there was a lot of talking at GROW.

The biggest story (and the one that was easiest to confirm with multiple independent sources) is that Vancouver’s Zite is apparently in the process of being acquired by CNN for $20-25 Million.

Techvibes has been covering Zite’s story since the team was working on a predecessor search product called Worio

More recently we’ve covered its troubles with mainstream media – in March Zite received a cease and desist letter from a large group of media company lawyers, who collectively insist that Zite must stop “misappropriating” their intellectual property. Companies pressuring Zite included giants The Washington Post, Time Warner (CNN’s parent), AP, and Getty Images.

Once official this acquisition story will be a huge feather in Vancouver’s and Canada’s startup cap. Zite evolved from technology developed at UBC and the company has been a poster boy for government programs with grants from Canada’s National Research Council and PRECARN.

In addition, Zite Founder Ali Davar has written guest blog posts on Techvibes in the past including one titled Running a Startup outside of the Valley.