Japan's Recruit Buys Jobs Website Glassdoor for $1.2 Billion

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(Bloomberg) -- Jobs and salaries portal Glassdoor Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer Robert Hohman has a new boss.

Japanese human-resources and consumer-information provider Recruit Holdings Co. has agreed to buy Glassdoor for $1.2 billion in cash. Through the tie-up, Recruit will gain access to the U.S. website’s extensive cache of content such as employee reviews, while Glassdoor will seek to accelerate its push into non-U.S. markets. Recruit shares rose as much as 3 percent in Tokyo.

Recruit, which operates online and offline services for travel, housing, restaurants, beauty, automobiles and education, made its last big acquisition abroad with the purchase of job-search engine Indeed in 2012. Glassdoor runs the second-largest job website in the U.S. and is known for hosting anonymous employee reviews about the culture and management of their companies. Glassdoor was taking steps earlier this year toward an initial public offering and was said to be interviewing banks for a market debut in 2018.

“Looking for jobs through employer reviews is becoming more popular, so buying Glassdoor not only grabs more users but also strengthens Recruit’s existing HR platform,” said Yushi Kawamoto, analyst at Haitong International Japaninvest KK. “Recruit is paying about seven times sales, which isn’t high. This will boost their competitiveness. So overall this is positive for Recruit.”

The deal is the culmination of a years-long professional relationship between Hohman and Hisayuki Idekoba, Recruit’s chief operating officer. The two had known each other for years, at times musing what the two companies could do better if combined. In the last month and a half, talks accelerated quickly.

“The logic just makes such solid sense,” Hohman said of the merger in an interview. “I think scale matters an awful, awful lot in the recruiting business.”

The transaction is on track to close by September, Recruit said in a statement Wednesday. The Tokyo-based company said it’s financing the deal with cash on hand. The companies are currently going through the regulatory review process, Hohman said.

Glassdoor has almost 59 million monthly users, 40 million reviews and insights for approximately 770,000 companies. Within Recruit, Glassdoor will operate as an independent business, Hohman said. The company doesn’t expect to change its headcount of about 750 employees as an immediate result of the deal. Idekoba said there were no plans to integrate Glassdoor and Indeed, although he said they may partner on “specific challenges” in the future.

Glassdoor was founded about a decade ago by Hohman and Tim Besse, along with Rich Barton, who started travel website Expedia Inc. and co-founded real estate marketplace Zillow Group Inc. The biggest venture capital backers selling their stakes are Tiger Global Private Investment, Benchmark Capital Partners and Battery Ventures.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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