Deal of the day: Seeking Mexico’s unemployed

Mexican unemployment is falling slowly, but still above its pre-crisis levels – so is it a good time to invest in an unemployment website?

Seek, Australia’s largest employment website, thinks so, and has bought a 40 per cent stake in its Mexican counterpart, Online Career Center, for $40m in a deal announced today.

OCC is the second-largest employment website in Latin America, after Brazil-based Catho Online, according to the sector ranking prepared by Alexa Traffic Rank. New York-based hedge and private equity fund Tiger Global Management, which acquired Catho in 2006, is also a shareholder in OCC. Catho and OCC are 11th and 12th in Alexa’s global ranking.

The deal revives a consolidation trend in the Latin American online job advertising space. Mexico is a leader for other Spanish-speaking markets and Brazil is a universe in itself as the only Portuguese-speaking country in the region, according to specialists.

“There is currently a strong interest from foreign players in investing in Latin America, as it is one of the few regions not terribly impacted by the global economic crisis,” said Nicolas Tijerina, chief executive of Argentina-based employment site Bumeran, which is also controlled by Tiger Global Management.

In Brazil, the online placement market is split between sites run by traditional job advertising players and purely online ventures, said Daniel Domeneghetti, founding partner of the Brazilian consultancy E-Consulting Corp. Consolidation will focus on the purely online sites as companies seek to grow by purchasing existing online databases.

The Brazilian market also includes Vagas, the country’s second-largest online advertising company with 41m resumes, and Curriculum, the fourth, with 6.9m resumes.

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