No sooner does the sale of Monster to Randstad close than another publicly held careers publisher announces it is up for sale. DHI Group, owner of the tech jobs site Dice.com and several other niche job boards, announced this morning it was pursuing “strategic alternatives,” Wall Street-speak for a sale.
“In light of developments within our industry and our growth agenda, we have decided to explore strategic alternatives to ensure we have an ownership structure that best optimizes shareholder value and the execution of our strategic plan,” President and CEO Michael Durney said in a written statement.
In that release, the company detailed its third quarter financial performance which showed an adjusted 9% decline over the 3rd quarter of 2015. DHI reported it earned an adjusted 10 cents per share on revenue of $56.1 million. Earnings were in line with what analysts were expecting, while the revenue came in $.5 million below.
The company has struggled to gain traction for several quarters. It’s been hurt by the severe downtown in the energy industry which cut the revenue it earned from its energy-specific job site Rigzone by more than 50% from a high of $31.2 million.
All the company’s other sites have seen smaller declines.
During a call this morning with financial analysts, Durney said that several months ago management launched a strategic review of the entire company that lead to a plan to focus on the tech sector and the flagship Dice.com. “Tech offers the best opportunity for growth,” Durney said during the call.
Because all or nearly all companies employ tech professionals in some capacity, and the demand for tech workers continue to expand, Durney said DHI is adopting a tech-focused strategy. It also makes sense, since Dice.com accounts for about half the company’s $225.3-$226.3 million projected revenue for the year.
Simultaneously with the strategic focus on building new tech services, including a skills assessment component, Durney said DHI Group will seek a buyer.
In a interview after the financial call, he said a sale could take multiple forms. A public company could make an offer, as Randstad did with Monster. Another option might be for private equity to buy DHI and take it private. There are other possible scenarios, including that no sale takes place. In all cases, however, Durney said the board of directors and company management does not intend to sell-off individual parts.
Dice began in the 1990s as a privately held tech job exchange open only to staffing, recruiting and consulting firms. By the end of the decade, Dice was on the web, available to all. In 1999 it was sold to a publicly held company, which went private a few years later. Then it was bought by two private equity firms, and two years later, in 2007, Dice went public.
Besides the sale of Monster, LinkedIn is being acquired by Microsoft and CareerBuilder, privately held by three newspaper and TV companies, was put up for sale in September.