CareerBuilder has sported a dominant hold on partnerships with newspaper publishers, a status owed largely to its longtime owners, the newspaper behemoths Gannett Co., Tribune Co. and Knight-Ridder. But Monster's partnership with Philadelphia Media Holdings, parent of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com, suggests that may be about to change.
'Wanted to get deal done'
"The Monster folks were very aggressive, and they clearly wanted to get this deal done," said Philadelphia Media CEO Brian Tierney, whose group began talking to Monster shortly after reaching a deal to buy the papers from McClatchy Co. -- which had just acquired them as part of its acquisition of Knight-Ridder -- in May.
"CareerBuilder is a great brand, but, in this market, it's a brand that we built. People here think of it as the jobs section of the paper," Mr. Tierney said. "But Monster is the top brand, and we're the top newspaper in the No. 4 market, so it's a great match."
As an independent owner coming from outside the newspaper industry, Mr. Tierney obviously feels no loyalty to a consortium that was conceived largely as an industry-wide effort to stave off online classifieds. Mr. Tierney said that before deciding to partner with Monster, his group did consider staying with CareerBuilder but also thought about building its own job site and held discussions with Yahoo.
The deal throws an interesting wrinkle into ongoing negotiations concerning CareerBuilder's ownership. McClatchy is in line to take over 33% of the site because that percentage was owned by Knight-Ridder before the acquisition. But Tribune and Gannett have the right to buy out McClatchy rather than let the company assume Knight-Ridder's stake, and discussions are ongoing. If McClatchy is cut out of the deal, though, the company could follow Philadelphia Media and take its online job-listings business to Monster, a move that could cause other larger papers, such as The Miami Herald and Minneapolis Star-Tribune, to also jump ship to CareerBuilder's largest competitor.
A McClatchy spokesman referred calls to VP-Interactive Chris Hendricks, who was traveling and couldn't immediately be reached. A CareerBuilder spokeswoman didn't immediately return a phone call.
The Monster/Philadelphia Media partnership will launch with a co-branded website Aug. 14.
In a statement, Andrew J. McKelvey, chairman-CEO of Monster Worldwide, said: "As the first alliance between Monster and a major newspaper media group, this initiative is a prime example of our continued commitment to grow Monster through a variety of strategic distribution points and partnerships."
Monster shares closed up nearly 1%, at $38.34, on lighter-than-normal trading.