The parent company of online recruiter Monster.com announced last week that it was exploring strategic alternatives, and this week it hired financial advisors.
We know what they'll say.
"Sell -- and sell soon."
It's not just because that's what financial advisors are typically brought in to do. Monster's in a funk, and it's one that it won't get out of anytime soon. Analysts see revenue and earnings falling by 6% and 30%, respectively, this year.
Folks used to flock to job sites when they were looking for a change of career scenery. Monster.com, HotJobs, and CareerBuilder would pay up for Super Bowl ads. Life was good. However, there's a more social bent to sniffing out new jobs these days.
However, everyone knows that there's no one better at playing vocational matchmaker these days than LinkedIn
Monster is hungry for a buyer. It would look great on LinkedIn's arm.
Why would a dot-com speedster want a dot-com laggard? Great question. Let's go into the reasons that this unlikely duo should be working together.
- Monster's enterprise value is less than $1 billion, while LinkedIn's value is more than $8 billion. Notice the wide discrepancy? Now consider that Monster's nearly $980 million in revenue last year is more than LinkedIn's $872 million in revenue.
- LinkedIn is richly priced. Even if we look out to next year, the stock is fetching 79 times its projected profitability. Monster fetches a 2013 multiple in the high teens. In other words, the deal itself would be accretive to earnings -- pushing LinkedIn's stiff earnings multiple dramatically lower.
- Not every accretive deal is worth making, obviously. However, this one makes sense. LinkedIn.com and Monster's employment sites would benefit one another in obvious ways. LinkedIn would be more practical. Monster's sites would be more social. It's not just realized cost-saving synergies. The two companies truly would be more lucrative together than on their own.
The marriage makes sense, even though I realize that shortsighted investors would punish LinkedIn's stock if it raised its bidding card here.
Roll up the sleeves, get to work, and make it happen. Mr. Market will come around.
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