It’s no secret that — the wildly popular online recipe site — is on the auction block. In fact, Reader’s Digest — which gobbled up AllRecipes for $66 million in 2006 — has publicly said that it plans to unload the property.

The auction process is now coming to an end, and The New York Post has the scoop on some potential suitors for the Seattle company. According to the Post, Random House is part of a “bidding war” that could push the price above $200 million. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that AllRecipes — which claims more than 24 million monthly visitors and is led by Lisa Sharples — could fetch between $100 million to $200 million.

Random House already publishes cookbooks by Julia Child; Rachael Ray; Giada De Laurentiis and others.

The Post also reports that Meredith, the magazine publisher which earlier this year purchased “Every Day with Rachel Ray” from Reader’s Digest, is in the running for AllRecipes. (Meredith already operates Also making a run at the company is Scripps Interactive, the operator of Food Network which purchased Seattle’s RecipeZaar in 2007.

AOL also has been a rumored suitor.

But perhaps the most interesting tidbit from the report is that may be in the running for AllRecipes, a move that could help bolster its content offerings on the Kindle Fire.

Amazon also would be interesting since both companies are located in Seattle.

Seattle entrepreneur Steve Murch, who runs BigOven, a competing online recipe site, said he thinks it makes a lot of sense for a traditional print publisher to make a move on AllRecipes.

“There’s clearly an opportunity for smart publishers who see their distribution going digital to snap up consumer-facing verticals and platforms for their content,” Murch tells GeekWire. “In the cooking world in particular, recipes have markup that go beyond simple e-book format — consumers want to be able to get nutrition facts for recipes, search recipes using include/exclude filters, add recipes to a grocery list and calendar, get their recipes mobile devices, track recipes consumed and measure their diet impact, and much more.  I think we’ll see the evolution of the e-book format to specific verticals with more specialized markup, and cooking is a major one.”

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  • bigoven

    Really great for Seattle and the digital cooking category to see the interest heat up for this fine property.

    As for’s interest, I feel it’s inevitable that cooking content will go even more digital, including things such as nutrition markup, grocery shopping tools and more.  Here at BigOven, we’re definitely seeing that one major value of having your recipes digitally stored is the mobility, and the easy ability to find recipes that meet your specific ingredient tastes (and diet/allergic constraints).  This requires more than just e-book markup, I feel it requires a robust recipe management platform that covers the entire life-cycle.

    AllRecipes community is large and active, and it’s fantastic to see the interest. 

    I think it’s wise for
    Amazon (and Apple and Microsoft) to prepare for a world where one will shop for
    recipes individually or in collections a la iTunes, paired with a very strong mobile presence.

    – Steve Murch, CEO BigOven

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