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Why 51job Stock Defied the Downturn and Popped Today

By Rich Smith - May 4, 2021 at 3:01PM

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51job could still be for sale -- if it wants to be.

What happened

Mr. Market threw a hissy fit Tuesday, sending the Nasdaq down more than 2% in response to reports that interest rates may soon being rising. But investors in Chinese online employment agency 51job (JOBS) hardly noticed.

As the trading day winds down, their stock is up 11.2% (as of 3:30 p.m. EDT). 

Why? This morning, 51job revealed that it has just received "an updated preliminary non-binding proposal letter" from DCP Services Limited, Ocean Link Partners Limited, and Rick Yan, 51job's own CEO, renewing their offer to acquire 51job and take the company private.  

Red arrow goes down and green arrow goes up

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

If you recall, Yan and his associates first offered to acquire 51job back in September 2020, bidding $79.05 per share to acquire the company in a buyout then (and still) valued at $5.3 billion. 51job's share price climbed sharply in response to that news -- indeed, it climbed past the bid price -- but has since fallen back, closing Monday at $61.33 per share as the months marched forward, and no acquisition happened.

Now, you might expect Yan & Co. to take advantage of this price weakness by reducing their bid. But in fact, according to today's update, the bidders are sticking with their original price and still proposing to pay $79.05 per share, cash, to take 51job private.

Now what

That's awfully generous of them, and while it's true that so far, 51job has said no more than that its "Special Committee will continue to evaluate the Proposed Transaction in light of the latest development," when you consider that the renewed bid price now values 51job's stock at a 29% premium to what the stock cost just a day ago -- versus a slight discount to the share price seven months ago -- I think it's safe to say that the chances of 51job finally getting bought out are a whole lot better this time around.

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