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H&Q-backed JobKorea put up for sale Foreign strategic investors are also paying strong attention to the online recruiting platform

Translated by Ryu Ho-joung 공개 2020-03-02 08:00:26

이 기사는 2020년 03월 02일 08:00 더벨 유료페이지에 표출된 기사입니다.

South Korea’s number one job portal JobKorea is drawing strong attention from potential buyers, not only at home but also abroad, as soon as it was put up for sale.

Seoul-based PE firm H&Q Korea has put its JobKorea up for sale and hired Morgan Stanley to run an auction for the company, sources familiar with the matter said on February 26.

JobKorea is the country’s number one online recruiting company, maintaining the largest market share for years. Its business model is to match job-seekers with employers and its revenue mainly comes from advertising. With a strong brand image and the high level of customer loyalty, it generates stable cash flow, which is seen to be highly attractive to potential buyers.

JobKorea also operates part-time job portal Albamon and gaming job portal Gamejob. Demand for part-time employees is on the rise in the country in an increasingly flexible labor market and the online recruitment market is also expected to grow at a stable pace, all of which could work in favor of H&Q’s planned sale of the company.

Founded in 1996 with a capital of 50 million won, JobKorea was acquired by Monster Worldwide in 2005 in a deal that valued the company at about 100 billion won. H&Q bought the entire stake owned by the U.S. online recruitment company in 2013.

Industry watchers expect that the company could be targeted by its industry peers from other regions, especially those looking to expand their business to South Korea and further to other Asian countries. According to data from another local online recruiting company Saramin HR, South Korea’s online recruitment market has almost doubled in size for the past four years to 256 billion won in 2018. Strong interest from foreign strategic investors would help propel valuation of the company during an auction process.

Domestic strategic investors – particularly platform companies such as messaging app giant Kakao – may also set their sights on an acquisition of JobKorea, seeking for perceived synergies with their existing big data platform.

Domestic and global PE firms, with plenty of dry powder on hand, are among potential bidders, too. Indeed, several PE firms reportedly tapped H&Q for a possible sale of the company even before it was officially put on the market.

“The company looks especially attractive in terms of strong cash flow and growth prospects,” an industry insider said. “Characteristics of its customers, such as the level of loyalty, compared to those of other platforms will likely be key to valuation for the company.”

(By reporter Kim Hye-ran)
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