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Affinity Equity set to acquire Korea’s top recruitment portal JobKorea

By Mar 04, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

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

Affinity Equity Partners, a global private equity firm, is set to acquire the entire stake of South Korea’s top recruitment portal JobKorea – a deal estimated at about 800 billion won ($709 million).

According to the investment banking industry on Mar. 4, Affinity Equity has been named the preferred negotiator to take over the 100% stake in JobKorea, currently held by Korea-based private equity fund H&Q.

Barring the unexpected, H&Q and Affinity Equity Partners will sign a sale-purchase agreement (SPA) sometime next week, according to sources.

Affinity Equity is known to have offered the highest bid among the shortlisted contenders as well as attractive non-price terms, the sources said.

In the final bidding conducted last week, local and foreign PEFs including CVC Capital Partners, TPG Capital and MBK Partners competed for the JobKorea stake.

Morgan Stanley is managing the stake sale.

Affinity Equity Partners is one of the largest dedicated Asian private equity firms and focuses on leveraged buyout and growth capital transactions. Affinity operates as a Pan-Asian firm focusing on investment opportunities in Korea, Australia and New Zealand, Greater China and Southeast Asia.

AFFINITY, SEEK TIE-UP POSSIBLE

Australia’s largest job site SEEK, the only strategic bidder among the initially shortlisted potential buyers, showed interest in JobKorea, but did not submit a final bid, raising the possibility of it forging ties with the eventual winner, Affinity.

Industry officials said Affinity will be interested in obtaining SEEK’s know-how in running the top Australian job portal for a possible advance into the Southeast Asian market.

JobKorea's mobile app
JobKorea's mobile app

SEEK, based in Melbourne, is looking to enter the Korean market after successfully expanding its presence into 18 countries, including New Zealand, China, Brazil and Mexico. SEEK forayed into those markets by teaming up with financial investors and derives over half of its revenue from overseas markets.

MORE THAN FOURFOLD GAIN FOR H&Q

The sale of JobKorea will offer H&Q an opportunity to exit the recruitment portal with more than a fourfold gain from its investment.

H&Q acquired 100% of JobKorea for a total of 205 billion won between 2013 and 2015 from Monster Worldwide Inc., a US-based job listing service and the parent of the largest US job portal Monster.com. H&Q has already pocketed most of its investment money through dividend income.

Albamon, job site for part-time listings
Albamon, job site for part-time listings

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

JobKorea holds a 40% share in Korea’s full-time job listing market, double the market share of the industry’s No. 2 player Saramin. In the part-time job listing market, Albamon dominates with a 60% share.

Albamon’s revenue has grown significantly in recent years, overtaking that of JobKorea in 2020, according to industry officials.

Write to Chae-Yeon Kim at Why29@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article.

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