It’s a sign of the times in the world of online recruiting: CareerBuilder is the latest employment website to go up for sale, according to Reuters, with the equity firm GTCR reportedly in exclusive talks to purchase it for over $1 billion:
The potential deal for CareerBuilder comes as many popular job websites become acquisition targets amid challenges in translating user growth into profits. Last September, credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc called CareerBuilder’s operating performance “weak”. … CareerBuilder generated revenues from its subscription offering of $162 million in 2016, up 8 percent from 2015, according to regulatory filings. The vast majority of its revenue is in the United States.
CareerBuilder has been expanding into new areas in recent years. Last year it bought Aurico, a background screening and drug testing service for an undisclosed sum. It also acquired a 75-percent stake in WorkTerra, a maker of software for benefits and compliance.
If this deal goes through, CareerBuilder will be the second major recruiting platform in less than a year to be sold off. Monster, which like CareerBuilder was born in the mid-1990s and survived the crash of the dot-com bubble, was acquired by the Dutch HR service provider Randstad Holding last August for $429 million, a fraction of what it was worth in its heyday. To ERE’s John Zappe, the CareerBuilder news reflects an ongoing trend of consolidation in the online recruitment space, as the industry leaders of the early Internet era lose ground to newer competitors:
If the GTCR deal does go through for close to the $1 billion, it would represent a significant downgrade in the value of CareerBuilder. In 2006, when McClatchy first became a part-owner of CareerBuilder as a result of its acquisition of Knight-Ridder, the careers site was valued at $1.55 billion.
Despite efforts to broaden its offerings and become more a full service HR recruiting provider, CareerBuilder hasn’t gained substantial traction outside its traditional job posting and resume business. Even there, it’s been overtaken by Indeed.com, which is the global leader in pure job search traffic. LinkedIn, too, has siphoned off much of recruiting’s passive search business. So successful did LinkedIn become, that Microsoft paid $26 billion to acquire it last summer. Coincidentally, Microsoft was once a part owner of CareerBuilder.