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Yahoo! wants to buy HotJobs, the US job board currently being acquired by TMP Worldwide, Monster.com's owner.

The portal is offering a cash and stock deal worth $10.50 a share - $463m - to buy HotJobs, the world's second biggest recruitment site (behind only Monster.com). This represents a premium of 6 per cent over the TMP all-share offer as of close of play on December 12 and a premium of 23 per cent over TMP for the preceding 30 days.

HotJobs says it will consider the proposal but it has "not changed or modified its recommendation of the TMP merger, and the merger agreement with TMP remains in effect".

The company has published the very nice letter it received from Yahoo! which we reproduce in full.

Offer Letter to HotJobs

December 12, 2001

Dimitri Boylan
Chief Executive Officer
HotJobs.com Ltd.

Dear Mr. Boylan:

On behalf of Yahoo!, I am pleased to submit the enclosed offer to acquire HotJobs. We are extremely impressed with the business you and your management team have developed. We are particularly excited about how HotJobs complements our businesses and our strategies for future growth by establishing deeper relationships and delivering greater value for our consumers and business partners in vertical markets.

We see recruitment as a valuable part of Yahoo!'s future growth strategy - it's been one of the fastest industries to migrate online and is poised to grow substantially over the next few years. We believe that the combination of HotJobs and Yahoo! will create a powerful new force in the recruitment marketplace.

Yahoo! is well positioned to help HotJobs capitalize on the future opportunities in this market and to provide an exciting platform upon which HotJobs's management and employees can build. Yahoo!'s broad reach, distribution, and desire to commit significant resources to this opportunity, together with HotJobs's experienced management team, large consumer base, diversified customer base and well-trained sales force, would create a winning combination.

In short, the combination we propose is a logical next step for the shareholders, customers and employees of both of our companies.

We believe a transaction between HotJobs and Yahoo! would provide demonstrably superior value to your shareholders compared with the transaction with TMP. We also believe that the combination of Yahoo! and HotJobs represents a uniquely attractive opportunity to your management team and employees. To that end, Yahoo! proposes to acquire all outstanding HotJobs common stock at a fixed price of $10.50 per share of consideration consisting of equal parts cash and stock. The proposed price represents a 23% premium over the average implied price of the TMP transaction over the last 30 trading days, and a 6% premium over the implied price today (based on TMP's closing price on December 12, 2001).

To effect the transaction, we would commence an exchange offer for all of HotJobs's outstanding common stock followed by a merger at the same per share price. Yahoo! would use its currently existing cash balances to finance the cash portion of the consideration. We expect that the transaction could be consummated within six to eight weeks of the execution of definitive transaction documentation. Because the cash portion of the transaction would be financed entirely through Yahoo!'s existing cash reserves, our offer would not be subject to any financing contingency. We are prepared to begin discussions with you as early as tomorrow.

Our proposal is clearly superior for your shareholders to the proposed transaction involving TMP for the following reasons:

-- Our proposal provides higher absolute value for each HotJobs share
-- Our proposal provides value certainty
-- Our proposal provides immediate liquidity
-- Our proposal is not subject to significant regulatory risk

Additionally, paying equal parts cash and stock should permit the transaction to be treated as a tax-free reorganization in most circumstances, thereby providing tax-deferred treatment for the stock portion of the consideration. As is customary, our proposal is subject to completion of a brief, confirmatory due diligence review, the negotiation of definitive merger documentation, and the termination of your merger agreement with TMP, in accordance with its terms.

As you know, it is necessary to communicate our proposal in this manner (i.e. in letter form) because of the "no shop" provisions of your merger agreement with TMP. However, we prefer to work collaboratively with you and your Board of Directors to complete a negotiated transaction that helps HotJobs realize the full potential of its franchise. We believe that time is of the essence, and are prepared to move forward expeditiously by committing all necessary resources to promptly complete a transaction. We have engaged Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP to advise us in this transaction. We and our advisors are ready to meet with you and your advisors to discuss all aspects of our offer, and to answer any questions you or they may have about our offer. Although we have already completed a thorough due diligence review based solely on publicly available information, we would like to commence confirmatory due diligence as soon as possible and are ready to begin tomorrow. We are also prepared to enter into a customary and reasonable confidentiality agreement no less favorable to HotJobs than the one between HotJobs and TMP.

The Board of Yahoo! has unanimously approved this proposal, and has unanimously authorized us to proceed. We aim to promptly conclude a transaction that is enthusiastically supported by you and your Board of Directors, shareholders and employees. We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

YAHOO! CEO

Terry Semel ®

Related Story

Monster swallows HotJobs

Website security in corporate America

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