HotJobs (Nasdaq: HOTJ) and Monster.com parent TMP Worldwide (Nasdaq: TMPW) said that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has asked them for more information about merger plans for the online recruiting companies.
“We still believe we can close in the fourth quarter,” TMP spokesperson Dan Bustillos told the E-Commerce Times on Tuesday, adding that the company intends to promptly supply the FTC with the requested information.
On June 29th, TMP said it agreed to acquire HotJobs for stock worth about US$415 million. The companies operate the two largest Internet job-search sites. Combined, they have more than 14 million job-seeker resumes for 650,000 jobs.
In looking at the competitive issues, Bustillos said that “the relevant market is the entire recruitment market,” including newspaper help-wanted ads and other sources.
“The online recruitment business is a very competitive one, with literally thousands of sources for jobs, and will remain so even with the merger,” Bustillos added.
Working To Respond
In a joint statement issued late Monday, the companies did not elaborate on the details in the FTC’s request, saying only that they would “comply with the request promptly and work cooperatively with the regulatory agency as it conducts its review of the merger.”
TMP plans to issue 0.2195 of its shares for each of HotJob’s outstanding shares. The companies initially said they expected to close the transaction in the fourth quarter, assuming the deal passes regulatory scrutiny and HotJobs shareholder approval.
Both companies’ boards have approved the plan.
On the Job
TMP, a New York City-based staffing and advertising company, has said it plans to continue to operate HotJobs as a stand-alone brand. The acquisition, according to TMP, is part of a broad strategy to enter new markets.
When they announced the merger, executives of the companies said they did not expect a formal antitrust review, although Monster and HotJobs are by far the biggest two players on the field.
Forrester Research estimates the worldwide market for online job-matching services will reach $9 billion by 2005. Monster, according to recent data from Greenfield Online, is the No. 1 job-search site, although according to the latest Jupiter Media Metrix audience tracking report, HotJobs had 6.3 million unique visitors in July while Monster.com had 6.2 million.
The HotJobs deal is the latest and biggest buy for TMP, which in recent months has announced a series of Internet-related acquisitions. TMP acquired FlipDog.com, another career site, in May, giving it access to job postings from more than 50,000 employers seeking more than 600,000 workers.
In June, TMP completed two other acquisitions — CollegeLink and FastWeb — giving TMP the capability to offer information about colleges and scholarships. Then in July, TMP bought Jobline International, an online recruiter based in Europe.
Monster is TMP’s best performing business. The online division helped TMP beat analyst estimates in the quarter ended June 30th, as a weak economy sent job hunters to the Internet looking for work.