HR News & Trends

The Word From Monster’s CEO: The Job Board Could Be Sold

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Saying, “At a certain price, anything’s for sale,” Monster CEO and Board Chairman Sal Iannuzzi unequivocally confirmed Thursday that the job board — or pieces of it — could be sold off in the coming months.

However, not just any deal will be accepted, he said in interviews conducted at the company’s Innovation Day demonstrations in New York City. “It would have to be compelling and it would have to make sense to Monster as a whole. This is not just about raising money.”

The buyer is less important, Iannuzzi implied, telling Bloomberg, “We’re agnostic as to what type of acquirer it is.

“The real issue is we know we have value, and we know we can go around and look for opportunities to get that.”

A wide range of alternatives are possible

Iannuzzi, Bloomberg reported, suggested the potential buyers might include  private-equity firms, technology companies, and large investors. Reuters reported he included Chicago-based CareerBuilder on the list, saying it had the resources to do a deal. There’s no comment yet from CareerBuilder.

The Innovation Day was hosted by Monster to demonstrate its products with keynote addresses by author Robert Shiller, and Arthur M. Okun, economics professor at Yale University. They discussed the global skills shortage and the challenges faced in matching jobs and people.

However, Iannuzzi’s comments were the focus of coverage by the business press, which discussed the company’s announcement earlier this month that it would be reviewing strategic alternatives — Wall Street jargon for a potential sale or company restructuring or the like.

According to Reuters, Iannuzzi offered some insight into the range of alternatives. “It means selling the company, potentially. It means bringing in a partnership in a region of the world where we can share the expense … it could mean a strategic investment in terms of someone buying a sizeable piece of Monster. It could be a foreign market or could be here in New York.”

A strong presence in Asia

Although the CEO said the company has had multiple inquiries, it’s still putting together financial and other information potential buyers will want. “We’re going to serve that up to them relatively soon,” Iannuzzi said.

While Monster’s revenue and especially its North American business has slumped with the recession, its international sales have done somewhat better. The company has a strong presence in Asia, which has weathered the recession in stronger shape than has Europe, where Monster has an even bigger footprint. Its reach includes the Middle East and South America.

CareerBuilder is ahead of Monster in North America, where it leads in revenue and traffic. The company’s global expansion is still relatively young, so if there is any interest in acquiring some part of Monster, it could well be in its overseas operations.

Monster’s stock closed at $9.49 on Thursday, up 2 percent on the day. It continued to rise in after-hours trading.

John Zappe is the editor of The Fordyce Letter. He was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. Never a recruiter, he instead built online employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Besides writing for ERE.net, John consults with digital content operations, focusing on the advertising side. Contact him at zappemedia@gmail.com.