SEEK seeks out JobStreet in Asia

Australian job listings site has acquired Malaysian based JobStreet for $580 million, further expanding its operations into Asia.

Australia’s biggest online job ads company’s subsidiary, SEEK Asia, acquired the 78% of JobStreet business it didn’t yet own.

JobStreet operates in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam, a deal which will see half of SEEK group’s revenue generated in Asia.

SEEK announced the acquisition as it reported a better-than-expected 65% rise in its half-year profit, boosted by earnings from China after it increased its stake in the Zhaopin employment website last year.

Net profit rose to $111.2 million in the six months through December from A$67.5 million a year ago, smashing forecasted profits of $75.5 million.

Shares in SEEK rose 14% to $15.22 early in Sydney trading on Wednesday, compared to 0.3% across the market.

SEEK owns Australia and New Zealand’s biggest employment website, expanding offshore to Asia as the local labour market weakened.

It acquired a 10% interest in JobStreet In September 2008, increased its investment to around 22% later.

In February last year, SEEK paid US$132.8 million to increase its stake in Zhaopin from 55.5% to 78.2%.

A month later, SEEK completed the acquisition of the remaining 20% interest in JobsDB, which operates in seven countries across South East Asia.

SEEK chief executive Andrew Bassat said the Australian company was continually looking to expand business worldwide.

“We’ve become very excited over the last few years about the opportunities for us globally in international employment classifieds,” he said.

“In the near term, we expect revenue residing in Asia to comprise over 50 per cent of SEEK’s overall revenue which further cements SEEK as a global leader in online employment.”

Paul Xiradis, chief executive of boutique fund manager Ausbil Dexia, said the purchase of JobStreet would complement SEEK’s overseas expansion.

“It gives them access to a workforce which is effectively 140 million people,which is many times the size of Australia,” he said.

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