Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Totaljobs bought by Stepstone

Here is my very quick reaction to the news here that Stepstone have paid £110m for Totaljobs group (i presume that means Totaljobs plus Caterer, CWjobs etc)

So here goes - firstly, I am not surprised

1. RBI have stated for some time that they don't really want these advertising led, cyclical products in their portfolio. They want to sell information, licenses, research, subscriptions.
2. Stepstone (Axel Springer Classified) do not have a UK job board product (well, not since its first incarnation went pop in about 2002)- so its a nice fit with Germany, Benelux, Scandinavia etc)

As for the price

Time will tell whether its a good or bad deal - i would have to guestimate about their turnover and profit and some of that info i am privy to has been off the record so won't speculate about multiples. Jobsite was bought by DMGT for £54m in 2004/5 (great deal) - Hotrecruit by Trinity Mirror for £55m a year later (absolute shocker other than if you were the people selling it). So that would tell you that you were probably paying a much more inflated dot com premium back then as TJ's figures are much more robust in 2012 than those orgs 7 or 8 years ago.

What will it mean?

There will obviously be changes over time but i dont see much short/medium term happening. They have bought a product and mgmt team in a country where they have no presence or similar competitive business. So no rationalisation needs to occur right now. Clearly the international offering (TheNetwork) will be strengthened and i am sure some cost alignment may be considered but as we all know the bulk of recruitment advertising is very much a local/national approach so very limited as to what they can do internationally on costs. I guess maybe we will see more investment and innovation with a new big player in UK market as it has been a seemingly mature sector devoid of launches in recent years.

And my final comment is - i am still not seeing many people queueing up to buy all those B2B magazines based in Sutton - now that would be a tough sell....