When Monster’s largest shareholder last week tore into the planned sale of the company calling the price “selling at the bottom,” the response was an official “no comment.” Today, Monster fired back.
In an open letter to shareholders, Tim Yates, Monster’s CEO and CFO and a company director, called last week’s detailed challenge by Media News Group to the $429 million proposed sale of Monster to staffing giant Randstad, “reckless.”
“MNG is not offering you anything for your shares,” Yates writes, boldfacing this part of his letter. “They are asking you to turn down a significant cash premium NOW in the hope of a possibility that your shares may be worth more sometime in the future.
“MNG’s hopes are pinned on incorrect and unsupportable assumptions.”
In four short bullet points, he counters some of the key points that MNG spent nearly 4,000 words detailing:
- The expense cuts MNG suggests Yates says are “draconian” and notes Monster’s already cut $100 million over the last several years.
- Likewise Monster has already cut capital spending in half; what the company spends now is “needed for product enhancements to meet current, intensified competition.”
- The call for asset divestiture ignores the divestitures already made.
- And regarding MNG’s call for a more aggressive sales and pricing effort, Yates all but says Monster can no longer be competitive. “MNG ignores that competition is intensifying from companies that are owned by substantially larger and better capitalized parents that can afford to compete aggressively on product pricing in pursuit of market share.”
He also offers an opinion from one investment firm that not going through with the sale would be “disastrous for MWW shareholders.”
Where the letter from Media News Group, one of the nation’s largest newspaper owners, was detailed and included charts and comparisons with other careers publishers, Yates’ letter provided scant financial and competitive specifics. That, he told shareholders, would be forthcoming.