Microsoft Buys Stake in CareerBuilder
Microsoft Corp. said Wednesday it has acquired a minority stake in job-listings
partner CareerBuilder.com and will use that job-search engine on MSN sites overseas
in a bid to capture more of the classified advertising money migrating to the
Reston, Va.-based CareerBuilder has been the exclusive provider of job listings
to Microsoft's MSN Careers site since 2004. The job site's newspaper industry
majority owners use CareerBuilder's technology for their own online classifieds
and have benefited from the site's U.S. growth as print classified advertising
revenue plunged in recent years.
Microsoft declined to say how much it paid for a 4 percent stake. CareerBuilder
said newspaper publishers Gannett Co. and Tribune Co. each hold 40.8 percent
of the company, and McClatchy Co. now holds 14.4 percent.
Microsoft's move from partner to owner is the latest development in a series
of linkups between newspaper businesses and the most powerful Web companies,
as both industries fight for the growing pool of ad dollars shifting to the
More than 260 U.S. newspapers, including those owned by McClatchy, the nation's
third-biggest publisher based on circulation, have signed on with Yahoo Inc.
to sell advertising online, including employment classifieds. Google Inc. has
also been working with some of the nation's largest newspapers to broker print
CareerBuilder topped the list of "career development" sites with
15.4 million unique visitors in the U.S. in March, according to research group
Nielsen/NetRatings. Monster Worldwide Inc., which has also pursued newspaper
partnerships this year, followed with 8 million visitors. Yahoo's HotJobs clocked
5.4 million visitors, the researchers said, but grew 14 percent over last year
while CareerBuilder's U.S. audience slipped 3 percent.
Microsoft is putting a defense in place so CareerBuilder can't be acquired
by Google or someone else, said Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group.
Microsoft also said Wednesday it extended its deal to use CareerBuilder content
exclusively on MSN until 2013, and it said CareerBuilder will pay $443 million
over seven years for the arrangement. Microsoft will also add CareerBuilder
content to international MSN sites, mostly in Europe, starting in some countries
later this year.
James McClamroch, general manager of business development for MSN, said moving
from partner to owner will let Microsoft think longer-term about the fast-growing
market of recruitment advertising, which he estimated at $1.6 billion last year.
CareerBuilder, for its part, said the overseas traffic deal will help it expand
into new markets.
"Because they're invested, (it will) help us grow those marketplaces,"
said Matt Ferguson, CareerBuilder's chief executive. Ferguson noted that CareerBuilder
advertises on Google, and will continue to do so.
Shares of Microsoft edged up 3 cents to $30.78 Wednesday.