[UPDATED: 4:10pm ET]
Last week, our own Jennifer Zaino spoke to Zite CEO, Mark Johnson about the startup, Zite.  One of the topics was the speculation around a rumoured acquisition by CNN. Zite is an iPad app that leverages deeper technology to provide an individually personalized experience. Zite surfaces content to users that they will find most interesting from a variety of sources across the Web by learning users’ preferences and getting smarter as it’s used. Today, news broke that, indeed, Zite has sold to CNN.

The official press release indicated that “CNN has added Zite as a separate, stand-alone business that will continue to innovate and provide users with the news and information they want.”

Johnson will continue to run Zite’s day-to-day operations out of headquarters in San Francisco and will report to KC Estenson, general manager of CNN Digital. Zite Founder, Ali Davar, will stay on board as Executive Director. Mike Klass will continue to lead Zite’s technology R&D as CTO. Zite will be a wholly owned subsidiary of CNN.

“Zite is thrilled about combining forces with CNN to create a world-class news discovery platform. In CNN, we have found a partner who shares our vision and passion. Being part of the CNN family gives us the capital to grow Zite’s business and continue to innovate in the space,” said Johnson. He posted additional thoughts on the company blog, citing CNN’s history of innovation and a shared understanding of news delivery in the real-time world that today’s technology helps provide.

Estenson weighed in with, “Zite represents the next generation of content discovery and personalized publishing and CNN wants to help lead in that space. We think we can advance the industry in a meaningful way that helps content creators grow their businesses while growing the distribution of a product that people already love. Zite’s technology can also be used to help CNN’s Websites and apps serve more personalized content, making our current digital services even better.”

Available for free on the iPad, users can download Zite from the App Store or iTunes.

SemanticWeb.com congratulates Mark and the entire Zite team on this exciting step forward!

image: zite.com