Staffing Firm Adecco Buys General Assembly for $412.5 Million

(Bloomberg) -- Adecco Group, which recruits both permanent and temporary employees for large businesses, is buying the digital retraining firm General Assembly for $412.5 million, Adecco said Monday.

General Assembly, which was founded in 2011 and is based in New York, runs 20 facilities around the world where it teaches employees subjects such as web development, user experience design, digital marketing and increasingly, data science and machine learning. Individuals can enroll in General Assembly’s full-time courses, paying tuition that often totals more than $10,000 per course.

Zurich-based staffing agency Adecco said the acquisition would help establish itself as a "leader in the fast-growing up/reskilling segment," and would complement the human resources services it already offers. It said the acquisition would be "modestly dilutive" to Adecco’s 2018 earnings and would be accretive to earnings from 2019 onwards.

Addeco said that General Assembly had been experiencing 30 percent compound annual revenue growth and that its profit margins were above the Adecco Group’s average. General Assembly’s revenue in 2017 was $100 million. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018, pending regulatory approvals.

General Assembly has increasingly sold its services to corporations looking to retrain large numbers of employees in new digital skills. The company said its clients included some 300 of the world’s largest corporations, including cosmetics company L’Oreal and consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. In total, more than 50,000 people have taken one of the company’s courses, General Assembly said.

Since its founding, the company has received about $120 million in venture capital financing from firms including Advance Publications, the New York-based newspaper publisher and broadcasting company, and Institutional Venture Partners, the Menlo Park, California-based venture investor.

Adecco said that General Assembly will continue to operate as a separate division, led by its founder and chief executive officer, Jake Schwartz, who will report to Sergio Picarelli, a member of Adecco’s executive committee.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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