Parent Company of Tech Site Dice Is for Sale

No sooner does the sale of Monster to Randstad close than another publicly held careers publisher announces it is up for sale. DHI Group, owner of the tech jobs site Dice.com and several other niche job boards, announced this morning it was pursuing “strategic alternatives,” Wall Street-speak for a sale.

“In light of developments within our industry and our growth agenda, we have decided to explore strategic alternatives to ensure we have an ownership structure that best optimizes shareholder value and the execution of our strategic plan,” President and CEO Michael Durney said in a written statement.

In that release, the company detailed its third quarter financial performance which showed an adjusted 9 percent decline over the third quarter of 2015. DHI reported it earned an adjusted 10 cents per share on revenue of $56.1 million. Earnings were in line with what analysts were expecting, while the revenue came in $.5 million below.

The company has struggled to gain traction for several quarters. It has been hurt by the severe downtown in the energy industry which cut the revenue it earned from its energy-specific job site Rigzone by more than 50 percent from a high of $31.2 million.

All the company’s other sites have seen smaller declines.

During a call this morning with financial analysts, Durney said that several months ago management launched a strategic review of the entire company that lead to a plan to focus on the tech sector and the flagship Dice.com. “Tech offers the best opportunity for growth,” Durney said during the call.

Because all or nearly all companies employ tech professionals in some capacity, and the demand for tech workers continue to expand, Durney said DHI is adopting a tech-focused strategy. It also makes sense, since Dice.com accounts for about half the company’s $225.3-$226.3 million projected revenue for the year.

Simultaneously with the strategic focus on building new tech services, including a skills assessment component, Durney said DHI Group will seek a buyer.

In a interview after the financial call, he said a sale could take multiple forms. A public company could make an offer, as Randstad did with Monster. Another option might be for private equity to buy DHI and take it private. There are other possible scenarios, including that no sale takes place. In all cases, however, Durney said the board of directors and company management does not intend to sell off individual parts.

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Dice began in the 1990s as a privately held tech job exchange open only to staffing, recruiting, and consulting firms. By the end of the decade, Dice was on the Web, available to all. In 1999 it was sold to a publicly held company, which went private a few years later. Then it was bought by two private equity firms, and two years later, in 2007, Dice went public.

Besides the sale of Monster, LinkedIn is being acquired by Microsoft and CareerBuilder, privately held by three newspaper and TV companies, was put up for sale in September.

John Zappe

John Zappe is the editor of TLNT.com and a contributing editor of ERE.net. John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.