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Dice Says Acquisitions, Product Enhancements Will Fuel Company Growth

by Oct 24, 2012, 3:26 pm ET

Propelled by its flagship tech site, Dice Holdings this morning delivered a financial report so strong it sent the company’s stock up 12 percent.

The company, the first of the publicly traded career sites to report, said it earned 17 cents per diluted share. That beat Wall Street’s average estimate of 12 cents. Dice also reported revenue of $48 million, an increase of 2.6 percent over the same quarter last year and a million more than analysts were expecting.

CareerBuilder, which is privately held, voluntarily reported revenue of $169 million from its operations in North America. That’s a 5 percent increase over the third quarter of 2011. The company doesn’t release other revenue numbers or earnings. LinkedIn will report on Nov. 1.

Monster, curiously, has yet to set a date for release of its numbers. Typically, the company would have done that by now. It also would typically report its numbers this week. There were rumors of a possible sale to (among others) the German media company Axel Springer. The company denied the reports this week.

Dice Holdings, meanwhile, is looking ahead to a strong finish to the year, and product improvements and growth next year.

“We liked the third quarter because of the strategic moves we made,” said Scot Melland, Dice chairman, president and CEO. Speaking with me hours after conducting a conference call with investment analysts, Melland credited a strong IT hiring market and a booming energy sector for the company’s financial performance.

But Melland, who said he hadn’t checked the company’s stock price before we spoke, seemed most excited by the September acquisition of the highly trafficked tech news, discussion, and open source code sites Slashdot, SourceForge, and Freecode. Dice paid $20 million for the three.

As the sites become integrated with the job postings and other career services on Dice.com, recruiters will gain direct access to the tens of millions of tech visitors who frequent the sites each month. Melland said the acquisitions will give recruiters much broader exposure for their brands and open jobs “hitting that passive tech worker … during their work day.”

While Slashdot gets about 60 percent of its 4 million monthly visitors from North America, Sourceforge, Melland said, gets 80 percent of its 40 million visitors from the rest of the world.

They will serve, he said, as a “launching pad” for broadening Dice’s reach outside the U.S. and Canada. That’s coming next year, Melland said, first with English language sites intended for global companies hiring for their in-country operations. Later, native language sites may follow.

It also won’t be long, he said, before the company unveils new features and upgrades to its existing jobs platform. I couldn’t coax even a hint out of him about what these might be. All he would say is they will help make Dice “an even more efficient way to reach” talent across its multiple sites.

The only financial disappointment came from the company’s  eFinancialCareers sites. They primarily serve Europe, which is still struggling with budget deficits, high unemployment, and related ills. The financial sites were off 20 percent in the third quarter over the same quarter last year.

Melland was hesitant about predicting when conditions there might turnaround. Still, with tech hiring continuing to grow, and demand for oil and gas workers exceeding the available talent in much of the U.S. and other parts of the world, Dice Holdings told Wall Street it expected to earn about $8.7 million in the current quarter and $37.6 million for the year on revenue of $51.4 million and $194 million. Both the fourth quarter and full-year estimates are ahead of what analysts are predicting.

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