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From a roar to a whimper: Monster acquired by Randstad for $3.40 a share

Posted by Christina Perry on Aug 9, 2016 1:00:17 PM
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Today’s announcement of Randstad’s acquisition of Monster is another significant development in the consolidation of online recruitment companies.

The $429 million cash deal marks the absorption of one of the largest job boards, and is the latest in a steady stream of recruitment tech deals that include Workday’s purchase of Platfora,  Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn, and Recruit Holdings’ (Indeed’s parent company) buy of Simply Hired.

What’s in it for Randstad?

Randstad is one of the largest staffing and consulting firms in the United States (and the second largest HR services provider in the world.) In a press release announcing the deal, the company explained that with the acquisition of Monster it plans to bring the two sides of the recruiting process—active candidates and employers—closer together.

“With its industry leading technology platform and easy to use digital, social and mobile solutions, Monster is a natural complement to Randstad,” said Randstad CEO Jacques van den Broek. “(The acquisition) reflects our commitment to bringing labor supply and demand closer together to better connect the right people to the right jobs.”

Monster: what happened?

Monster’s decline has been long but steady. Its stock peaked at $91 per share in 2000*, but tumbled to rest at a humble sub-$3 range in recent days. Its annual revenue in 2011 was $1 billion. But this year, prior to the acquisition, it was barely on track for half of that.

On the innovation side, Monster’s failure to keep up with the evolving market has been evident for some time. In a 2012 Boston Globe article, Keith Cline of tech recruiting firm Dissero observed, “Monster is like a dinosaur that never innovated or changed. In fact, if someone’s resume is on Monster and they’re in the tech field, I’d be a little skeptical.”

At one point, founder Jeff Taylor’s vision was for Monster to be a repository of professional profiles that users would update with their latest skills and roles. But it never came to fruition, and subsequently LinkedIn rose to professional network dominance.

More recently, data science companies like Restless Bandit have offered related features like Resume Refresh and Talent Rediscovery, to continually update resumes in a company’s ATS and automatically match job descriptions to those candidates on an ongoing basis.

As Monster carried on as just a job board, direct competitors like Indeed (acquired by Recruit for $1 billion in 2012) became aggregators, and Monster’s relevance started to slip away.

In retrospect, it seems that Taylor’s departure from the company in 2005 may have been the beginning of the end. As former Monster exec Peter Blacklow recalled in 2012, “As long as Jeff was there, he always had the mantra, ‘Innovate or die—and death is not an option.’”

Randstad’s acquisition of monster is expected to be completed in Q4 2016.

*A triumphant year all around, as founder Jeff Taylor also broke the blimp waterskiing record.

Topics: talent acquisition, linkedin, talent rediscovery, HRtech, sourcing, resume refresh, restless bandit, staffing, monster, job boards, recruiting, data science, acquisitions

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