The IT Job Board / Dice Holdings Inc
CAVENDISH LEADS ON THE SALE OF TECH RECRUITING PLATFORM THE IT JOB BOARD TO LEADING WEBSITE SPECIALISTS DICE HOLDINGS INC.
Deal highlights the expertise and overseas reach of Cavendish’s recruitment sector team
Cavendish Corporate Finance, the UK’s leading sell side mid-market M&A firm, announces it has advised SThree plc, the international specialist recruitment firm, on the sale of their online recruitment platform The IT Job Board to Dice Holdings Inc., a leading provider of specialised websites for professional communities.
Dice Holdings Inc. has purchased the outstanding shares of Jobboard Enterprises Limited, the corporate entity of The IT Job Board, for initial consideration of net £9.2 million in cash. Additional consideration up to a maximum of £3 million in cash is payable upon the achievement of certain financial targets ending in 2014. The acquisition allows Dice to expand into new markets, create more growth opportunities and better serve its global customers.
The IT Job Board simplifies IT job searches through a network of tech career sites spanning the UK, Germany, Belgium and Holland and the strength of the company’s technology platform and database have been key drivers of growth. The site receives nearly a quarter of a million visits per month and has nearly one million technology professionals registered to match against hiring managers’ job opportunities, providing its customers quick and easy access to targeted, high-quality technical talent.
SThree was founded in 1986 and is the parent company of various organically grown recruitment brands including Computer Futures, Progressive Recruitment, Huxley Associates and Real Staffing Group. Its subsidiaries specialise in ICT, Engineering & Energy, Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology, Banking and Accountancy & Finance recruitment services.
Dice Holdings Inc. is a leading provider of specialised websites for professional communities including technology and engineering, financial services, energy, healthcare and security clearance. It provides customers with access to high-quality, unique professional communities and offers those communities access to highly relevant career opportunities and information, serving markets in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
The global M&A market for recruitment firms is on the rise following a significant recovery in deal flow over the past 12 months as the sector appears to have finally emerged from the fall out of the 2007/2008 economic crisis. The UK, which is the third largest global HR services market behind the US and Japan, is leading the revival. Transaction volume is up by 70%, rising from 22 deals in 2010 to 37 deals in 2012. This outpaced Europe, where deal volume rose by close to 40% from 56 in 2010 to 77 in 2012.
The impact of this renewed interest in recruitment firms has been healthy rise in valuations, with the median EBITDA multiple on transactions rising to 9.8x last year from 7x in 2010. Most of the deals so far have been in the mid-market, with target companies having a median annual revenue of close to £20 million. Factors behind the increase in deal flow include the gathering economic recovery, the return of private equity buyers to the market, the need for recruitment businesses to follow their clients as they move into new markets, the rise in temporary/contingent working, which has meant recruitment firms have had to expand into this area, often through acquisition, and consolidation as larger players acquire smaller competitors.
Peter Gray, Partner at Cavendish Corporate Finance, commented:
“We have had a long-term relationship with IT Job Board and worked closely with management planning this exit. We focused exclusively on potential international buyers as we believed they would offer the best strategic fit and also were therefore likely offer the most attractive price. The sale by SThree, an international specialist recruitment firm, of The IT Job Board, its online recruitment platform, to another online recruiter illustrates the debate in the sector at the moment about whether online recruiters work best as standalone businesses or can be equally effective as part of recruitment companies.”
The overall revival in recruitment sector M&A globally has clearly been mirrored in the UK, with the strong, 70% rise in deal flow last year outpacing Europe. Quoted deal multiples have also increased by around 40%, from 7 times in 2010 to 9.8 times last year and areas which are commanding the most interest are specialist recruitment firms in sectors such as IT, Oil & Gas and Healthcare. Our pipeline of potential deals is the strongest it has been for about five years and we think the outlook for selling recruitment businesses will only improve going forward.”
Cavendish completed on 17 sales of businesses in 2012 and has completed eight deals so far this year. Its most recent transaction in the recruitment sector was advising last year on the sale of Timothy James Consulting to Hamilton Bradshaw. Previous recruitment deals include Police Recruit to G4S, James Harvard International Group to Hays plc, Marks Satin to Greythorn and Digby Morgan Consulting to Vedior
“Cavendish has a great brand and great people, and from the moment the appointment was made, we knew we were in safe hands. The Cavendish team of Andrew, Steve and Paris delivered the right advice at all times. The strength of their international reach brought parties to the table including ZEDRA who we would never have found ourselves and who saw the potential in our business and our team. Cavendish controlled the process and the negotiations throughout. They also understood how we felt as founders to be selling a business we had built over 12 years. Many thanks once again to the Cavendish team – I would highly recommend them.”
“This deal represents a fantastic opportunity for our investors to support an established and well managed business with an excellent reputation in the facilities management sector. We are delighted with the debt financing package arranged by finnCap, which was a critical element to the completion of the transaction. We were extremely pleased with how the process was managed by the finnCap Debt Advisory Team, which provided us with optionality to select the most appropriate banking partner for CMS.”
I would thoroughly recommend Andrew and Rebecca and the Cavendish team to anyone looking to maximise the proceeds from a disposal or asset sale. The Cavendish team are both consummate professionals, focused on delivery and pragmatic and flexible in their approach to helping their clients achieve their objectives. I would not hesitate to recommend them and would hope to work with them on future projects. They provide great value.
I was delighted with the service that Cavendish offered and their real attention to detail. The deal was not without its complexities and it was reassuring to have Paul and his team assisting me throughout the negotiations.
Cavendish handled the transaction with elegance and efficiency. They were proactive, everything kept to time and we completed as planned, less than six weeks after agreeing the heads of terms.
We have thoroughly enjoyed working with the Cavendish team. Caroline, Andrew and Eimear offered us unstinting support and valuable advice throughout the transaction. They were instrumental in helping us achieve this result.
The team at Cavendish demonstrated their international reach and their tenacity to stick with the deal until it closed. They found the ideal owner… We are very excited at the new opportunities that we can now develop.
Cavendish Corporate Finance has been integral to the establishment of the New College of the Humanities, providing both valuable advice and managing a successful fundraising process that has enabled us to have a stellar founding shareholding group that provides not just capital but also experienced investors who will help NCH succeed and flourish.
Cavendish brought to the table extensive contacts in the venture capital industry and an understanding of how to present our investment case in the best light. All our business had been lacking was funding to achieve scale and with the capital secured from Balderton we are now empowered to bring about lasting change in the insurance industry and create significant value for all our shareholders along the way. We are delighted with the deal and with the invaluable help that Cavendish provided in obtaining it.
Thank you so much for the hard work you put into our sale. “We are delighted with the result both personally and for the company. We now have some work to do in maximising the benefits of the deal to both parties. Your support during the deal was excellent and helped us go through a process that was completely new to us. It seemed to go very smoothly and I know that much of that was due to your background work with Egis’s advisors. We also felt well supported on the detail of the final stages. “Many thanks once again to you both. It was a great time and a perfect outcome.
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