Should LinkedIn Buy Monster Worldwide?

Monster Worldwide (NYS: MWW) is getting the job done for investors this month.

Shares of the company behind the job listings website soared 10% on Monday -- after climbing 6% higher last week -- on takeover speculation.

It's been seven months since CEO Salvatore Iannuzzi said that he would be open to a sale of the company, and the clock's ticking.

In a Bloomberg interview last week, MKM Partners analyst Eric Handler suggests that likely buyers would be companies that specialize in software for corporations. It's easy to see where a proven workforce recruiting platform would be an intriguing purchase for enterprise software heavyweights Oracle (NAS: ORCL) or (NYS: CRM) . Oracle and Salesforce already deal with companies in managing their operations. Why not inherit a wider Rolodex? Helping drum up workforce leads for companies would be a great way to get a salesman's foot in the door to pitch cloud-based enterprise solutions.

Those are just two of the names singled out as potential acquisitions by Bloomberg, but the most likely buyer is really right underneath everyone's nose.

Why isn't anyone considering LinkedIn (NYS: LNKD) as a potential buyer?

I offered up three reasons LinkedIn and Monster would be a good match back in March. Let's update the reasons.

  • Monster's enterprise value continues to be less than $1 billion, but LinkedIn's value has ballooned to nearly $12 billion in recent months. The discrepancy is wide, even though analysts see Monster generating more revenue than LinkedIn this year.

  • LinkedIn was richly priced then, and it's even more expensive now. LinkedIn is trading for more than 90 times next year's projected profitability. Monster fetches a rich 2013 multiple of 27, but the deal would still be highly accretive to LinkedIn's bottom line.

  • My third and final reason hasn't changed. LinkedIn and Monster's employment sites fit well with each other. As I said back in March: "LinkedIn would be more practical. Monster's sites would be more social. It's not just realized cost-saving synergies. The two companies truly would be more lucrative together than on their own."

We'll soon find out if the past few days of speculative gains for Monster Worldwide were warranted. Maybe the buyer will be some stodgy private equity firm or a print media giant trying to compensate for declining revenue from traditional employment classifieds.

LinkedIn would still be the right choice. It's usually the disrupted buying the disruptor, but this time the job interview roles appear deliciously reversed.

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