The news was surprising: Tegna was putting CareerBuilder up for sale. Tegna, which owns 53% of the job board (along with Tronc (aka Tribune) and McClatchy) stated that it wanted more ‘financial flexibility’. In other words, time to cash out for Tegna.
It’s been an eventful few months for CareerBuilder. It either lost or walked away from its job board business with Tronc (what a name!), which operates the Chicago Tribune, the LA Times, and other newspapers (RealMatch snatched up the business). At the same time, CareerBuilder announced the acquisition of WORKTERRA, a cloud-based benefits administration and talent management platform. This seemed to fit in with CareerBuilder’s long term goal of being a ‘cradle to grave’ recruiting and HR solution for enterprise employers.
So first off, who would want to buy CareerBuilder? Maybe a private equity firm. Maybe a staffing firm, ala Randstad and Monster. Maybe a non-U.S. job board company like SEEK or Stepstone. Or maybe Salesforce – after losing out on LinkedIn, they may be primed to snatch up a job board that in reality is much closer to their overall business model than Monster ever was.
We’ll find out. One thing I do believe – unlike Monster, CareerBuilder is not a ‘damaged property’. Sure, it’s a legacy job board brand – but that can cut both ways. A well established recruitment brand is still worth something – particularly when the underlying services (EMSI, Textkernel, Broadbean, etc.) are solid.
What does this mean for the rest of the job board and online recruiting industry? Not a lot. Like the LinkedIn and Monster purchases, it is less reflective of industry trends and more reflective of big company priorities. In fact, I think you could argue that Tegna is selling the wrong property.
But when you look at the fundamentals of the online recruiting business, things are actually looking pretty good for the tens of thousands of niche job boards and networks out there. Job postings and revenue are up, unemployment is down, and demand for skilled labor continues to grow. Is this a boom economy? No. Is this a profitable time to be a job board or recruiting site? Yes.
Yet one question still remains. Who will buy CareerBuilder, and for how much? Let me know your opinion![Want to get Job Board Doctor posts via email? Subscribe here.]