Seek raises stake in Chinese site
THE online job advertisement company Seek is increasing its stake in Chinese employment website Zhaopin as it continues its expansion into the growth markets of Asia and South America.
Seek announced on Friday that it would buy Zhaopin shares from Macquarie and other exiting shareholders for $US105 million ($99.2 million) to take its ownership level from 55.5 per cent to 72.3 per cent.
It will then launch an offer to other shareholders that could further increase its ownership to about 79 per cent.
Seek International's managing director, Jason Lenga, said the company was continuing to expand into growth markets.
"China will become the biggest online employment marketplace in the world in the not-so-distant future," Mr Lenga said.
The company also has stakes in online employment ad companies across South-East Asia as well as Brazil and Mexico.
"Australia is a great market and we're very successful here but we also want to be a global leader in employment," he said.
He said Seek preferred to buy stakes in existing, successful online ad companies outside of Australia and New Zealand rather than trying to take the Seek brand into new markets.
"We invest in brands that have already been established," he said.
"It's really difficult to start from scratch without having any brand recognition in a different country with a different culture."
The company said the share purchase would be funded from Zhaopin and Seek's cash balances.
Seek said James Packer's Consolidated Press Holdings would not be selling its stake in Zhaopin as part of these transactions.
The deals are expected to be completed by the end of next month.