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TMP Feeds the Monster HotJobs

Continuing its white-hot rival shopping spree, TMP Worldwide Inc., best known for its leading career resource site Monster.com, snatched up chief competitor HotJobs Ltd. for $460 million in stock.

In what was a rare, sizeable deal inked late Friday after the market closed, New York City's TMP said it would maintain HotJobs.com as a stand-alone brand, and will add to Maynard, Mass.-based Monster.com's already extensive fleet of resumes, bringing the total to 14 million. Monster.com and HotJobs allow job seekers to create and manage a resume account and, perhaps more importantly, post job openings from thousands of companies and provide a window through which employers may view potential hires.

Per the agreement, each share of HotJobs common stock will be exchanged for .2195 shares of TMP common stock. TMP will issue 8.3 million shares of its common stock and outstanding HotJobs options will be converted into options to acquire TMP common stock at the same exchange ratio. After the completion of the merger, TMP will have approximately 116.8 million shares outstanding.

Indeed, the deal is a measure of how of the high-tech arena is going as the largest companies with the deepest pockets and resources offer sweet deals that smaller rivals find hard to say no to. The $460-million price tag is generous; TMP noted so in a public statement by pointing out that the purchase price reflected almost a 21 percent premium, based on HotJobs' Thursday stock price close.

"This acquisition will significantly expand our portfolio of services and our reach among job seekers and employers who view the Web as an essential channel for career management and finding talent," said Andrew McKelvey, chairman and chief executive officer of TMP Worldwide.

McKelvey said he anticipates the addition of HotJobs will make TMP and Monster.com's arsenal that much more extensive and widespread on a global basis, adding "breadth and depth of services."

The buy is the latest in a spree of sorts for TMP, who with its popular Monster.com in tow, picked up privately held career site FlipDog Inc. for an undisclosed sum May 30 while Monster.com made an offer to purchase Sweden's Jobline International AB for $115.5 million in stock on May 25, a deal that could greatly broaden TMP's international presence because Jobline services Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, and Finland. The money trail goes back further to March, when TMP bought JWG Associates, a recruitment consulting company based in Boston, and Management Solutions Inc., a contract/interim placement firm that will be folded into TMP's e-resourcing division.

Monster.com passed the 10 million resume mark in May around the time parent TMP reported first-quarter revenue of $362.8 million, increasing 28 percent year-over-year and ahead of Wall Street's estimate of $350.8 million. The company's interactive unit, which includes Monster.com, posted revenue of $156.6 million, an increase of 111 percent year-over-year. Earnings were 18 cents per share, gaining 45 percent year-over-year and ahead of Wall Street's estimate of 15 cents per share.



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