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Adecco to buy MPS Group

October 20 2009
Staffing Industry Analysts North American Daily News

Adecco SA, the world's largest staffing firm, agreed to acquire MPS Group Inc. (NYSE: MPS) in a deal that would bolster its position in the professional staffing sector in the U.S. and elsewhere.

MPS, a Jacksonville FL-based professional staffing firm, ranked No. 13 both on Staffing Industry Analysts' lists of largest U.S. and global staffing firms.

Adecco agreed to pay $13.80 per share in cash in the deal valued at approximately $1.3 billion, according to MPS. The deal received unanimous approval from MPS' board, but it is subject to shareholder and regulatory approval. It's expected to close in the first quarter.

"One of the major attractions for Adecco is MPS' leading technology platform, Beeline, which will greatly contribute to Adecco's managed service program (MSP) and recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) program," Adecco CEO Patrick De Maeseneire said in a conference call with analysts. "Together, we become the leading provider of MSP and RPO services."

Beeline is also a vendor management system.

In addition, the MPS deal will strengthen Adecco's position in professional staffing and give it a hold in healthcare staffing in the U.S.

"Together, we move up to become the market leader in engineering and in legal," De Maeseneire said. "And we now rank number two in IT staffing, as well as in finance and accounting. This combination also gives us an entry into the growing healthcare market, where Adecco had limited presence until now."

MPS ranked as the largest legal staffing firm in the U.S., according to Staffing Industry Analysts' lists of largest U.S. firms by segment. It was the fifth-largest information technology staffing firm, fifth-largest engineering staffing firm, 10th-largest finance/accounting staffing firm and 12th-largest healthcare staffing firm.

Twenty-five percent of Adecco's business will be in professional staffing with the acquisitions of MPS and Spring Group, up from 17% in 2008, according to De Maeseneire.

Adecco also announced today the closing of its acquisition of U.K.-based staffing firm Spring Group PLC. Spring had sales of GBP516.5 million (US$747.9 million) in 2008. Spring ranked No. 36 on Staffing Industry Analysts' list of largest global staffing firms.

De Maeseneire, in the conference call with analysts, said Adecco's bigger acquisitions are done for now and it will grow organically and concentrate on integration of the companies.

In a letter to MPS employees, CEO Timothy Payne said there would be no management changes in the short run and that Adecco would not fold MPS' specialized business units into its general staffing business.
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"In some markets, we are in similar businesses, but neither company has dominant market share in these instances so there will be plenty of room to grow," Payne wrote. "In some specialty markets, such as healthcare staffing and IT solutions, there is very little overlap so these specialties represent new market opportunities for Adecco."

Jacksonville will serve as the base for Adecco's North American professional staffing operations, MPS Chairman Derek Dewan said in a statement.

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