Two of the biggest names in the job board industry could be ripe for acquisition.
Reports emerged Friday, May 4, that Microsoft has asked Yahoo—parent company of HotJobs—to consider a buyout worth up to $50 billion. Meanwhile, buzz about Monster Worldwide’s potential buyout is intensifying, courtesy of TV business analyst Jim Cramer. During an appearance on CNBC’s Stop Trading! segment, Cramer once again brought up the possibility of Monster’s sale.
“Where there’s smoke, there is a conflagration,” said the host of the syndicated business show Mad Money.
Spokeswomen for both HotJobs and Monster declined to comment, noting it is company policy to not discuss market rumors.
Microsoft is said to be interested in Yahoo for its massive online traffic—the largest audience of any Web portal in the world—so it can be more competitive against rival Google.
A deal between Microsoft and Yahoo would mean more than combining corporate synergies, says John Zappe, principal and analyst at Classified Intelligence, a consultancy in Altamonte Springs, Florida. It would also have major implications for CareerBuilder, which has a deal with Microsoft’s MSN that expires next year.
The companies created a strategic alliance in 1999. In 2003, they strengthened the relationship by forging a five-year deal worth up to $150 million. A spokesman for CareerBuilder did not return calls.
Cramer’s constant attention to Monster likely has played a role in keeping rumors alive about a potential takeover. Stories on several Web sites, including Workforce.com's Best In Shows column , and chatter among bloggers have consistently speculated that Monster is being considered for a takeover by Google or media giant Gannett Co.
Recent decisions by Monster have also fueled the speculation, such as the April 12 appointment of Sal Iannuzzi as CEO. Before coming to Monster, Iannuzzi was CEO of Symbol Technologies, which he helped sell to Motorola in January.
His appointment not only drove up Monster’s stock price, but also raised speculation that he was brought on to help sell the company. Since Iannuzzi’s appointment in mid-April, Monster’s stock has climbed by more than $7 a share, closing at $47.38 on Friday, May 4.
“There have always been whispers about Monster selling,” Zappe says. “But this time [it] could be real.”