Early Thursday, The New York Times’ Dealbook blog said News Corp. chief executive Rupert Murdoch had offered $4.8 billion for New York-based Monster.
News Corp. spokeswoman Teri Everett denied the rumors, saying the company has not made any bid for Monster.
Speculation of a potential buyout is nothing new, and rumors have been circulating since chief executive Sal Iannuzzi joined Monster in April 2007. Iannuzzi, previously CEO of Symbol Technologies, sold that company to Motorola in September 2006. After bringing Symbol CFO Timothy Yates to Monster in June, rumors grew that Iannuzzi might be preparing Monster for a similar sale.
“As we see a little slowdown and earnings estimates come down, it would be the right time for a potential acquirer to look at the business,” says SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst Tobey Sommer, who lowered his earnings estimates for Monster on Thursday. “There’s a longer-term attractive quality to the business and it has to do with more employment advertising shifting from newspapers to online. Monster is a primary beneficiary of that.”
Earlier this month, Monster acquired San Francisco-based Affinity Labs Inc. for $61 million, expanding its career guide, job search, trade news and social networking offerings.
Shares of Monster fell as much as 3.1 percent to $28.15 on Thursday morning, and were down 1.2 percent intraday. The company’s stock shed more than 30 percent last year.