Business / Companies

Job site Zhaopin receives initial proposal to take firm private

By Zhu Wenqian (China Daily) Updated: 2016-01-21 11:25

Job site Zhaopin receives initial proposal to take firm private

Job hunters seek information at a stand. [Photo/China Daily]

Zhaopin Ltd, China's biggest job recruitment site, has received a non-binding offer to take the firm private, a year and a half after debuting on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company said on Wednesday it had received the preliminary proposal from affiliates of CDH Investments and Shanghai Goliath Investment Management LP.

Zhaopin said it considered the acquisition offer a fairly high valuation from the two noted investment institutions.

Officials said its board of directors are currently valuing the offer, but they did not disclose any further details or the time frame for the deal.

The investors plan to acquire all outstanding ordinary shares not owned by Zhaopin's controlling shareholder, Australian investment firm SEEK International Investments Pty Ltd which owns 68 percent of Zhaopin, for $17.50 in cash per American depositary share.

The price represents around a 22 percent premium to the company's closing at $14.35 per ADS on Jan 15, and values the company at $1.1 billion.

Officials did not give any information about whether it plans to relist on the A-share market.

Currently, it had approximately 322,000 unique employers and 105 million white-collar job seekers on its books.

Founded in 1997, Zhaopin was also one of the country's first recruiting websites.

It floated in June 2014, and is still the only Chinese job listing website listed in New York.

According to its latest earnings report, it has seen annual double-digit growth rates consecutively since going public.

Chief Executive Guo Sheng said earlier that its growth has been driven by expanding customer penetration, particularly among China's small and medium-sized companies, at a time of difficult domestic employment conditions and increased competition from career development portals.

The potential delisting would follow other Chinese companies exiting overseas stock markets.

Last year, the number of Chinese companies that received privatization offers exceeded the total number in the past 12 years.

A number of US-listed companies including Chinese leading Internet security company Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd and China's largest specialist in airport displays AirMedia Group Inc have now reached final privatization agreements with potential buyers.

FocusMedia Holding Ltd, which used to be China's largest overseas listed advertising firm, has already been privatized and has listed on the A-share market.

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