Japanese Recruitment Firm Recruit Co Wants To Buy Freelancer.com For $400M

Looks like Recruit Co., the Japan-based HR and recruitment site giant that has long been gearing up for an IPO, is on the acquisition trail again, just a month after buying NuGrid in India and a year after its acquisition of Indeed.com. According to sources close to the situation, it has made a $400 million offer for Freelancer.com, an online portal that connects people with short-contract jobs.

They also gave a price for the Indeed.com acquisition, the terms of which were not revealed at the time: the recruitment site, they say, was acquired for $1.1 billion.

Morgan Stanley, which previously advised Indeed.com on its sale to Recruit Co, is also the advisor on this deal. It’s understood that Recruit Co approached Freelancer.com, who is now considering the deal, and this is the second, higher offer that has been put on the table.

Outsourcing website Freelancer.com allows professionals to bid on project work such as web design, application development, and article writing. It says it has 8.8 million registered users and that $1.2 billion worth of projects have been completed through its platform. The startup was founded in Australia, but Freelancer.com has a global presence listing a large outsourcing workforce in North America, South East Asia, and the subcontinent. It has bulked up in the past year, acquiring Canada’s Scriptlance as well as paying “millions” for developer marketplace vCoder.

Freelancer has not disclosed its revenues, while Recruit Co. currently has a reported turnover of around $10 billion. The deal, if it goes through, would be another chapter in Recruit Co.’s wish to expand further overseas markets, and particularly English-speaking markets like the U.S. It would also mean that Recruit Co. could offer new marketplace style products and services to its current employer clients and job seekers.

Recruit Co has stated its aims to derive 50% of its revenues from overseas markets (which stood at 4% before the Indeed.com acquisition), and also plans to do an IPO in the near future. It has over 80 different recruitment, e-commerce and publishing brands spanning travel, beauty, and education.

Recruit Co. has been on an acquisition spree of late. Last month it acquired one of India’s largest executive search firms, NuGrid, for an undisclosed amount. In April it acquired the remaining stake in Asia’s largest executive search firm Bo Le. On September 25 last year it announced the acquisition of Indeed.com and its database of 25,000 employer clients, over one million employer reviews, and job seekers who upload more than one million new resumes each month. The site attracts 80 million unique visitors per month.

Recruit Co declined to comment on the Freelancer.com bid or the Indeed.com acquisition price, as its policy is not to comment on rumors or speculation.

Freelancer.com also declined to comment.