Business / Corporate

Japan’s Recruit Holdings buys U.S. job site Glassdoor for $1.2 billion

Bloomberg, Kyodo

The CEO of Glassdoor Inc. has a new boss after Japan’s Recruit Holdings Co. agreed to buy the U.S. jobs-and-salaries portal for $1.2 billion (¥130 billion) in cash.

Through the tie-up, Recruit will gain access to extensive content such as employee reviews, while Glassdoor will seek to accelerate its push into non-U.S. markets.

Recruit, which operates online and offline services for travel, housing, restaurants, beauty, automobiles and education, made its last big acquisition abroad with the purchase of the U.S.-based job-search engine Indeed in 2012.

Glassdoor runs the second-largest job website in the U.S. and is known for hosting anonymous employee reviews of their companies’ culture and management. Glassdoor was taking steps earlier this year toward an initial public offering and was said to be interviewing banks for a market debut in 2018.

“Looking for jobs through employer reviews is becoming more popular, so buying Glassdoor not only grabs more users but also strengthens Recruit’s existing HR platform,” said Yushi Kawamoto, an analyst at Haitong International Japaninvest KK. “Recruit is paying about seven times sales, which isn’t high. This will boost their competitiveness. So overall this is positive for Recruit.”

The deal is the culmination of a long professional relationship between Glassdoor CEO Robert Hohman and Recruit’s chief operating officer, Hisayuki Idekoba. They have known each other for years, at times musing on what the two companies could do better if combined. In the last month and a half, talks accelerated quickly.

“The logic just makes such solid sense,” Hohman said of the merger in an interview. “I think scale matters an awful, awful lot in the recruiting business.”

Through the purchase of the California-based Glassdoor, Tokyo-based Recruit seeks to strengthen its collaboration with Indeed.

“Glassdoor’s database of employer information and the job search capabilities of Indeed complement each other well,” Idekoba said in a press release.

The transaction is on track to close by September, Recruit said in a statement Wednesday. The companies are currently going through the regulatory review process, Hohman said.

Glassdoor has almost 59 million monthly users, 40 million reviews and insights for approximately 770,000 companies. Within Recruit, Glassdoor will operate as an independent business, Hohman said. The company doesn’t expect to change its total of about 750 employees as an immediate result of the deal.

Idekoba said there are no plans to integrate Glassdoor and Indeed, although they may partner on “specific challenges” in the future.

Glassdoor was founded about a decade ago by Hohman and Tim Besse along with Rich Barton, who started the travel website Expedia Inc. and co-founded the real estate marketplace Zillow Group Inc.

The biggest venture capital backers selling their stakes are Tiger Global Private Investment, Benchmark Capital Partners and Battery Ventures.