RealTime IT News

Yahoo! Aids Seek's Market Quest

Search directory and portal site Yahoo! has made its first investment in Australian business, with its local arm taking a minority equity investment in online recruitment service Seek Communications.

Yahoo! Australia & New Zealand will invest AUS$6.25 million (US$3.75 million) cash in Seek, to become the principal supplier of employment listings for the local search engine. Yahoo! ANZ will also commence an extensive marketing campaign targeting Australians across its network and that of the global Yahoo! sites.

It's a move we believe will benefit both companies in terms of audience and services, to offer our users compelling services in a variety of key areas," said Yahoo! ANZ managing director Tony Faure. "One of these areas is going to be classifieds, and the employment listings to be provided by Seek will be our first major step in that direction."

Mr Faure added that the Yahoo! alliance would lend greater access to Seek's database of jobs. Yahoo!'s employment site is scheduled to launch by June.

The deal will bring together two large players in their respective categories, particularly in terms of brand recognition and market share. According to Media Metrix figures for February, Yahoo! ANZ reaches 57 per cent of Australia's online audience. Media Metrix figures also report that Seek attracted 237,000 unique visitors in February, more than double that of its nearest online recruitment competitor. Seek also features more than 18,000 jobs on its site each month.

"Both companies have increadibly strong brands and services that resonate with the online audience," said Seek chief executive officer Paul Bassat of the alliance.

Back in November, Seek raised venture capital from AMWIN, the fund created by investment groups Australian Mezzanine Investments and Walden International Investment Group, as well as from financial institution Macquarie Bank's Macquarie Technology Fund and the Australasian Media and Communications Fund. Seek has been using the capital to fund expansion, and at the time also mentioned its intention to list on the Australian Stock Exchange.

The recruitment site has also established partnerships throughout its two year history, with companies such as portal site Excite Asia Pacific, LookSmart and Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (PBL)/Microsoft co-owned portal ninemsn.

Yahoo!, meanwhile, has developed alliances with Australian retailer Coles Myer and Fairfax property CitySearch, to eastablish the Purple Pages online business directory.