StepStone acquires Jobsite as DMGT exits digital recruitment market

Online job board StepStone, part of the Axel Springer publishing group, has acquired Jobsite in a transaction that is expected to be completed in the autumn.

Thu, 22 May 2014

Online job board StepStone, part of the Axel Springer publishing group, has acquired Jobsite in a transaction that is expected to be completed in the autumn.

The transaction is conditional on clearance by the Competition and Markets Authority. However, Sophie Relf, Jobsite’s marketing director, tells Recruiter that the deal is considered “pro-competition” because the online and job board sector “is so competitive”.

The deal means that Jobsite now joins the Axel Springer stable, along with StepStone and a number of other job boards, including Totaljobs.com, CWJobs.com, Caterer.com, CityJobs.com and eMedCareers.com. Axel Springer has its headquarters in Germany.

The transaction completes Daily Mail & General Trust’s (DMGT’s) exit from the digital recruitment market through its Evenbase brand.

In April DMGT sold multi-job posting service Broadbean to CareerBuilder, as well as job search engine Jobrapido to Symphony Technology Group, an international software and internet technology service firm. This followed its sale of niche job site OilCareers.com to US company Dice in March.

According to a DMGT statement, the total proceeds from the disposal of its Evenbase brand is expected to be £150m.

Dan McGuire, former managing director of Broadbean, who sold the company to DMGT, and now runs visual analytics company cube19, tells Recruiter that following DMGT’s sale of Broadbean, OilCareer and Jobrapido earlier this year, the deal “is not unexpected”.

And he adds: “Totaljobs and Jobsite under the same banner is a very strong proposition. If they play their cards right they can dominate the market because they are two of the biggest brands in the market.” McGuire says that StepStone is run by “smart people” who he anticipates will come up “with a good strategy to make the most of the assets in the group”.

Kevin Beatty, chief executive officer of dmg media, says: "Jobsite has grown successfully since dmg media acquired the business in 2004. Following the disposal of OilCareers, Broadbean and Jobrapido in March and April 2014, this transaction will complete dmg media's disposal of Evenbase and exit from the digital recruitment market, enabling dmg media to increase its focus on the core Mail businesses."

Relf says that until the deal formally goes though it “is business as usual for StepStone and Jobsite”. There are no plans to change senior personnel, she says. “These are two separate companies with two distinct brands and client bases,” she adds.

Kevin Barrow, a partner at Osborne Clarke, says he expects other deals in the online recruitment sector. Barrow tells Recruiter: “There are a lot of people looking to invest in the sector, including institutional investors” with the prospect of specialist job boards becoming part of larger groups.

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