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Behind the News: Another acquisition -- Manpower Buys Comsys - CWS 30 February 2.4

Contingent Workforce Strategies 30





In the first week of February, Manpower announced that it would buy Comsys IT partners for $431 million. Expected to close in April, this comes on the heels of another big acquisition: Giant staffing firm Adecco completed its acquisition of the MPS Group in January. What does this change in the landscape mean for the clients of these staffing firms?

"Recent months have been marked by increased acquisition activity among staffing firms," says Jon Osborne, VP of research at Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), the publisher of this newsletter. Economic recovery is imminent and staffing firms want to accelerate their growth now in order to take advantage of the upturn.

Acquisitions like these provide more options for end users of contingent labor. Manpower has a large presence in Europe, which can help U.S.-based companies that want to take their contingent workforce programs global. Further, Comsys is a technology staffing firm with 52 branches. It has been ranked as the third-largest provider of IT staffing by SIA based on 2008 revenue. By acquiring it, Manpower's IT staffing offerings have just been strengthened.

Comsys also owns Tapfin, which provides vendor management services, recruitment process outsourcing and services procurement management. Tapfin was ranked the third-largest MSP, according to a 2009 report by SIA. Manpower can now be a one-stop shop for companies looking for a range of skill sets from industrial staffing to office/clerical, a VMS or an MSP.

If this trend continues, though, it could theoretically result in less competition on the staffing side. That could translate to fewer suppliers and potentially higher prices for end users of contingent labor. But we are not there yet.

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