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PEFs

CVC, TPG and Affinity Equity in bidding for JobKorea

Dec 14, 2020 (Gmt+09:00)

JobKorea CEO Yoon Byung-jun
JobKorea CEO Yoon Byung-jun

CVC Capital Partners, TPG Capital and Affinity Equity Partners are among 10 preliminary bidders for the entire stake of South Korea’s largest job portal service JobKorea, for which its owner H&Q expects to fetch 700 billion won ($641 million), according to investment banking sources on Dec. 14.

A couple of strategic buyers are included in the bidding group, but the sources declined to identify them.

Seoul-based private equity firm H&Q kicked off the sale process for JobKorea last month, after the online recruitment portal fared surprisingly well in the first half of this year, despite the coronavirus spread. It posted around a 10% year-on-year increase in EBITDA in the first six months to June.

The seller's asking price of 700 billion won represents 14 times last year’s EBITDA and more than three times what it paid to buy the job portal.

H&Q acquired 100% of JobKorea for a combined 205 billion won between 2013 and 2015 from Monster Worldwide Inc., a US-based job listing service and parent company of the largest US job portal Monster.com.

JobKorea operates two platforms: JobKorea, for full-time job listings and Albamon, for part-time listings.

The company holds a 40% share in South Korea's online job listing market. Its market share is more than double that of the industry's No. 2 player Saramin, with a market share in the low 20% range. In the part-time job listing market, Albamon dominates with a 60% share, and posted higher revenue than the full-time job website JobKorea in 2019.

Despite concerns about any negative impact from the pandemic-driven economic slowdown, bidders are focusing on the portal's positive cash flow.

“JobKorea has a different business model from LinkedIn and does not have as much valuable data. But given its capability to generate steady cash flow, it sure is an attractive target,” one of the investment banking sources told Market Insight, the capital news outlet of The Korea Economic Daily.

"In a lack of sizeable assets up for grabs this year, if global PEFs armed with bullets are entering the race, accelerating the competition, JobKorea will fetch a high enough price,” he said.

Morgan Stanley is handling the sale. 

Write to Chae-Yeon Kim at why29@hankyung.com

Yeonhee Kim edited this article.

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