All’s Quiet from TMP After HotJobs Accepts Rival Bid

With fewer than 24 hours remaining until its deadline to match or beat Yahoo’s bid to acquire HotJobs, TMP Worldwide, which operates Maynard, Mass.-based job board Monster.com, is keeping its own counsel.

Granted, HotJobs’ notification of its preference for Yahoo’s acquisition offer, valued at approximately $436 million in cash and stock, came just before the Christmas holiday, but spokespeople from TMP Worldwide hadn’t responded to requests for comments on the days prior to and following the holiday. HotJobs gave TMP until 9 a.m. on Thursday, December 27, to counter the Yahoo bid, and a HotJobs spokesperson wouldn’t comment on whether the company had received a response.

Although TMP executives had previously said they felt their company’s offer was “in the best interest of HotJobs shareholders,” TMP has never indicated that it would match or better Yahoo’s offer. TMP had originally made a bid valued at $460 million in cash and stock, but its value had dipped to $366 million by the time of the Yahoo offer, because of a slump in TMP’s stock price.

The loss of HotJobs would be something of a blow for TMP Worldwide, which has built on its market-leading position with Monster.com by acquiring rivals like technology-focused FlipDog.com, the college and university-oriented JOBTRAK, and the European site Jobline International. With the planned acquisition of HotJobs, Monster.com could have become nearly a one-stop shop for employment advertisers. It’s not a bad business to be in, as this advertising sector is thought to be one of the first to recover following a recession. But Yahoo — which clearly has plans of its own — seems to have foiled those aims.

“We believe that the combination of Yahoo and HotJobs would create a powerful new force in the recruitment marketplace, and would be the best outcome for HotJobs’ consumers, clients and shareholders,” Yahoo executives said in a written statement released Monday. “We look forward to entering into an agreement with HotJobs and consummating a transaction as quickly as possible.”

Besides boosting Yahoo’s online classifieds business, the addition of HotJobs would help the media giant bolster its corporate services division, which it has recently been working to develop. If the deal goes through, Yahoo would be in a good position to take advantage of and build the HotJobs business, leveraging the traffic it already brings to its site.

If HotJobs enters into a definitive agreement with Yahoo, it will be obligated to pay TMP $17 million in breakup fees.

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