Yesterday, Monster Worldwide’s (NYSE:MWW) CEO Sal Iannuzzi said he was willing to sell the company — or even a piece of it. He also mentioned that he’ll soon have the due diligence materials ready for any potential bidders.
Of course, investors have already loaded up on shares of Monster, which have risen about 42% since late February.
On the earnings conference call in early March, Iannuzzi said there was “considerable interest” from potential buyers. But hey, what else would he say? Whenever an asset comes on the market, many companies and private equity firms often want to get access to the books. Doesn’t mean the company is a great deal.
Like in this case. Monster’s problem is that it’s a technological dinosaur. The company essentially is an online posting board for job ads — which is increasingly losing appeal with employers. Instead, they’re leveraging social media like Twitter and Facebook.
The leader in the space is LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD), which has built a highly popular destination for professional job seekers and employers looking for them. LinkedIn has a market value of over $10 billion and is doubling revenues every year.
As for Monster, its market cap is only $1.12 billion. But when Iannuzzi came on board in April 2007, the company had a market cap of over $4 billion.
In the meantime, Iannuzzi has still collected a salary of $2.1 million per year. So, if a buyer is truly interested in Monster, it seems like a good first move would be to dump Iannuzzi.
In fact, the company does appear to have a fairly bloated organization, with about 6,000 employees. So there should be an opportunity to boost margins with lots of cost-cutting.
Then who might be a good suitor for Monster? For the most part, a private equity operator like KKR (NYSE:KKR) or Blackstone (NYSE:BX) would probably be a good fit. These firms know how to wring efficiencies from a company and also understand how to deal with declining industries. But it’s unlikely they would be willing to pay a big premium for the shares, especially considering the stock’s recent run-up.
Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPO Playbook, a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He also is the author of “The Complete M&A Handbook”, “All About Short Selling” and “All About Commodities.” Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli or reach him via email. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the aforementioned securities.