|JobKorea logo / Courtesy of JobKorea|
By Anna J. Park
Korea's largest online job listing site, JobKorea, is set to be sold to Hong Kong-based private equity firm (PEF) Affinity Equity Partners, as the firm has been selected as the preferred bidder for the portal's acquisition.
According to the investment banking industry, local PEF, H&Q, which owns the recruitment site, chose Affinity Equity Partners to sell the online portal to at an estimated price of nearly 900 billion won ($800 million).
Three other major PEFs also joined the acquisition talks, including CVC Capital, TPG Capital and MBK Partners, but Affinity Equity Partners is said to have submitted the highest bid. H&Q and Affinity Equity are slated to sign a sales and purchase agreement (SPA) later this month. Morgan Stanley is the acquisition underwriter.
With the deal, H&Q Korea will gain profits of over three times its original investment in less than eight years. The PEF purchased a 49.9 percent stake in JobKorea for 95 billion won in late 2013 from Monster Worldwide, the U.S.-job listing service company. H&Q Korea then bought the rest of the stake for 110 billion won in 2015.
JobKorea operates not only the country's top full-time job listing service, but also its own lucrative part-time job listing service, "Albamon." JobKorea accounts for about 40 percent of the nation's job listing market, while Albamon holds more than 60 percent of the part-time market. Based on its strong grip on the local market, the site has been logging an annual average growth rate of around 20 percent.