All’s Quiet from TMP After HotJobs Accepts Rival Bid

With fewer than 24 hours remaining until its deadline to match or beat
Yahoo!’s bid to acquire HotJobs, TMP
Worldwide, which operates Maynard, Mass.-based job board
Monster.com, is keeping its own counsel.

Granted, HotJobs’ notification of its preference for Yahoo!’s acquisition
offer, valued at approximately $436 million in cash and stock, came just
before the Christmas holiday, but spokespeople from TMP Worldwide hadn’t
responded to requests for comments on the days prior to and following the
holiday. HotJobs gave TMP until 9 a.m. on Thursday, December 27, to counter
the Yahoo! bid, and a HotJobs spokesperson wouldn’t comment on whether the
company had received a response.

Although TMP executives had previously said they felt their company’s offer
was “in the best interest of HotJobs shareholders,” TMP has never indicated
that it would match or better Yahoo!’s offer. TMP had originally made a bid
valued at $460 million in cash and stock, but its value had dipped to $366
million by the time of the Yahoo! offer, because of a slump in TMP’s stock
price.

The loss of HotJobs would be something of a blow for TMP Worldwide, which
has built on its market-leading position with Monster.com by acquiring
rivals like technology-focused FlipDog.com, the college and
university-oriented JOBTRAK, and the European site Jobline International.
With the planned acquisition of HotJobs, Monster.com could have become
nearly a one-stop shop for employment advertisers. It’s not a bad business
to be in, as this advertising sector is thought to be one of the first to
recover following a recession. But Yahoo! — which clearly has plans of its
own — seems to have foiled those aims.

“We believe that the combination of Yahoo! and HotJobs would create a
powerful new force in the recruitment marketplace, and would be the best
outcome for HotJobs’ consumers, clients and shareholders,” Yahoo! executives
said in a written statement released Monday. “We look forward to entering
into an agreement with HotJobs and consummating a transaction as quickly as
possible.”

Besides boosting Yahoo!’s online classifieds business, the addition of
HotJobs would help the media giant bolster its corporate services division,
which it has recently been working to develop. If the deal goes through,
Yahoo! would be in a good position to take advantage of and build the
HotJobs business, leveraging the traffic it already brings to its site.

If HotJobs enters into a definitive agreement with Yahoo!, it will be
obligated to pay TMP $17 million in breakup fees.

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