Monster Worldwide Profit Beats Estimates With New Clients

Monster Worldwide Inc., the online recruiting service that’s exploring a sale of the company, reported profit that beat estimates after a deal with the U.K.’s Department for Work and Pensions bolstered use of the site.

First-quarter profit excluding some items was 4 cents a share, Monster said today in a statement. That’s more than the 2-cent average analyst estimate compiled by Bloomberg. Bookings increased 5 percent after the New York-based company signed a four-year contract with DWP in February.

Monster is pushing its semantic search technology, which digs through contextual terms to bring up more relevant results, to keep users from defecting to companies such as LinkedIn Corp. that offer alternatives to employee recruitment. Chief Executive Officer Sal Iannuzzi said last month that he would consider selling the company as a whole or in parts and hired Stone Key Partners LLC and Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch to help.

“The major move in the stock is going to be driven by anything that helps further the potential of the company being sold,” Eric Handler, an analyst at MKM Partners LLC in Greenwich, Connecticut. “Anything that furthers the strategic alternatives process takes precedence. They said at their investor conference that they’ve received inquiries from a number of companies in a number of different areas.”

Bookings Forecast

Bookings may drop as much as 5 percent or increase as much as 1 percent in the current quarter from $251 million a year earlier, the company said. Revenue will decline 4 percent to 8 percent from $259 million in last year’s second quarter, Monster said.

Sales in the first quarter fell 5.9 percent to $246.1 million from $261.4 million a year earlier. Net income climbed to $3.74 million, or 3 cents a share, from $78,000, or 0 cents.

Monster’s shares increased 9.7 percent to $8.95 at the close in New York, for the biggest gain since March 6. The stock has climbed 13 percent this year.

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