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
“Thank you to John and your fantastic team at FinnCap Cavendish for your unwavering support, dedication, work ethic and belief in Xexec’s mission. John, Mike and Sam were instrumental in bringing the deal to a successful completion and provided invaluable guidance throughout the process.
We look forward to our new partnership with the Castik and Abry teams who are the ideal partners as we continue to expand our business and pursue the next phase of our strategy.”
‘The finnCapCavendish team were great to work with, they took time to listen, properly understand our objectives and tailored the process to get a fantastic result for us. They really understood the value drivers in the ICT sector and had access to all the key buyers for our business, they were able to efficiently manage the sale process maintaining the great relationship we’d built we Adept as our preferred buyer.’
“Thank you to Jon, Steph and Chirag for their tireless efforts in recent months. Jon offered invaluable leadership and strategic advice, while Chirag and Steph provided diligent and supportive guidance throughout. They also behaved throughout as one would expect friends and confidants to act, which is very helpful in a confidential situation. We were delighted with the result and very, very pleased to have had the three of them as our team.”
“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.
“It was a great pleasure to work with the Cavendish team once again. Having successfully worked together on the sale of our Payroll business in 2018, Cavendish were our natural choice of advisors. The team demonstrated a deep understanding of the sector and provided sound and trusted advice throughout the process.
We are confident the business will continue to flourish under IRIS Software Group’s ownership, further developing and delivering our market-leading software to new markets, and we look forward to working together during this next chapter.”
“I am very grateful to Joe Stelzer and the Cavendish team for their efforts in managing this transaction. Express Vending will operate as a standalone business unit while continuing to develop new and innovative product offerings. The Cavendish team were hands-on and provided invaluable advice throughout the process and ultimately achieved a successful outcome for all shareholders.”
“The Cavendish team, led by James Ellis, were extremely hands on and left no stone unturned, supporting and guiding me and the management team through all aspects of the transaction with the upmost professionalism. I would have no hesitation in recommending Cavendish to anyone wishing to sell their business.”
“The Cavendish Team – led by Andrew Jeffs – offered a fantastic service and were instrumental in making the deal happen.
A great result was achieved for all parties. We would certainly recommend them to other business owners looking to achieve an exit.”
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