Surprise! Glassdoor Sold for More than a Billion

Glassdoor’s plans for an IPO have long been one of talent-acquisition’s worst-kept secrets; 2018 was perhaps finally going to be the year, and the company has even been thought to be interviewing banks.

Instead, it was “another staffing company buying another job board,” as College Recruiter’s Steven Rothberg said, when the recruiting field first learned of the sale earlier tonight, on, naturally, Facebook. Yes, Glassdoor surprised the industry when it announced it was, instead of going public, selling to Recruit Holdings, a company that owns Indeed and has long been interested in being a global recruitment power out of Tokyo. (Monster, of course, was sold to the staffing company Randstad.)

Assuming the regulators OK it, the $1.2 billion deal is supposed to go through this summer. Recruit Holdings plans on keeping Glassdoor a separate company, with CEO Robert Hohman.

Back to Rothberg’s comment about job boards, Glassdoor, is of course, a bit more than that. It launched 10 years ago for employees to talk about what it’s like to work somewhere (or, as has been argued, what it’s like to fit in somewhere).

It started selling employer pages, which became a significant part of many large companies’ branding and recruitment marketing operations. The money kept coming: $12 million$20 million$50 million, $40 million, and so on. It expanded internationally, but not as fast as some big-company talent-acquisition departments would have liked.

Meanwhile for Glassdoor, the competition multiplied. The long list of review sites includes companies like Kununu, which started in Austria and has been working on expanding in the U.S. One new competitor is Comparably, which is selling compensation reports, filtered by ethnicity, location, and gender. I visited Friday in Santa Monica with Comparably’s CEO Jason Nazar, who found success with Docstoc, a company he started and sold to Intuit. Anyhow, most notably, a key competitor is Indeed — or shall I say was Indeed. Joel Cheesman has mentioned that Indeed has a competitive amount of employee reviews to Glassdoor. According to Bloomberg, there are “no plans to integrate Glassdoor and Indeed, although they may partner on ‘specific challenges’ in the future.”

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All told, a decade after its June 11, 2008 launch, Glassdoor says it has more than “40 million reviews and insights for 770,000 companies” and that “more than 170,000 employers have claimed their profile on Glassdoor and another 7,000 take advantage of Glassdoor’s recruiting and employer branding products.” As for Recruit, it has 45,000 employees working on much more than just Indeed (and let’s not forget SimplyHired); its holdings include the bridal, beauty, travel, and other industries.

On Facebook, let me know what you think of the buy. (If you’re signed in to Facebook you can request access to the group if you’re not it.)