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Investment Overview for Monster (NYSE:MWW)
Below are key drivers of Monster's value that present opportunities for upside or downside to the current Trefis price estimate for Monster:
Career Services North America
- Career Services North America Revenue: This figure has declined over the past few years and stood at $437 million in 2014. We expect Monster's business to decline further in 2015 owing to recent trends and then stabilize over our forecast period. However, if Monster can plug the major gaps in its business model and create a service that can effectively compete with LinkedIn, its revenues in North America can increase substantially. If the figure jumps to $600 million by the end of our forecast period, there can be 20% upside to our price estimate for Monster.
Career Services International
- Career Services International Revenue: Monster has struggled internationally, and has exited some unprofitable markets. Due to significant restructuring, it now hopes to focus on key markets and grow its business. We expect the company's International Career Services revenues to fall in 2015 due to restructuring and FX headwinds and then increase slightly over our forecast horizon . However, there can be close to 10% upside to our price estimate if this figure jumps to $350 million instead.
Monster operates Monster.com, an online job search portal that connects employers with job seekers. Monster has local presence in all the primary job markets of North America and Internationally (primarily Europe and Asia). In each geography, the company makes money from two sources:
- Employers - Employers range from large enterprises to Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs). Employers pay Monster to list available job openings on the Monster.com website and also to get the rights to view resumes of candidates / job seekers. Revenue from employers is the main source of revenue from in each geography.
- Job Seekers - While Monster does not charge job seekers to search through job openings or listings, it does charge job seekers for premium services such as resume writing, covering letter writing and priority resume listing.
Monster's North America Career Services business is the primary source of value. The company earns majority of its revenues and profits from this segment, which can be attributed to its higher domestic market share as compared to international markets, and slightly better job trends. The economy in Europe has suffered in recent years whereas the U.S. has seen a gradual revival. Additionally, Monster had to exit several unprofitable international markets, which further emphasizes the importance and value of its North American business. The revenue contribution of career services North America has increased consistently from 48% in 2010 to 57% in 2014.
North American demand weakened during the third quarter of 2015
The demand within North America unexpectedly dropped during the third quarter, after witnessing several quarters of bookings growth. This performance was caused by reduced demand from clients in the SMB (small-to-medium business) and mid-market segments. Additionally, increased competition also played a role in causing this headwind.
As a result of these changes and recent sale of Korean operation, Monster's margin outlook has now has been significantly lowered to 25% by Q4 2016.
Cost cutting initiatives will raise margins through 2015
Monster aims to cut down its costs under a ‘Reallocate to Accelerate’ strategy, wherein it will cut 300 positions (or about 7% of its workforce) globally and control spending across its international geographies. While the program will cost around $18 million to $23 million (mainly in employee severance expenses), it is expected to result in annualized savings of $38 million to $45 million. This strategy is expected to raise the adjusted EBITDA margin to 18-22% by Q4 2015 and allow for a higher margin profile in 2016.
Drastic increase in the number of job listings on the platform
The number of job listings on Monster is forecast to rise drastically from about 250,000 job listings at the beginning of 2014 to 7-8 million by the middle of 2015. Once this feature is released widely, we expect to see additional traffic and engagement on the platform. Job listings surpassed 4.5 million at the end of Q4 2014, as the company leveraged the latest social trends in hiring. We expect this feature to boost traffic and engagement on Monster over the coming years.
Monster is making its features more 'social'
Monster is working towards making its network more social – the launch of ‘Monster Twitter Cards’ and the integration of TalentBin expands its reach across the entire social web and also allows recruiters to reach out to the more coveted passive job seekers. The Twitter Cards product has gained traction is being rolled out across international markets. The company is also testing ‘Monster social ads’ product in beta stage. These Twitter-based products allow recruiters to propagate their job postings on the social network on a large scale.
In addition, Monster has also ramped up its Talent Bin product with additional features, and has expanded this product across more geographies and job categories.
Improving resume search technology
Monster has improved its resume search over the last few years by incorporating intelligent search technology, Semantic 6Sense, into its new generation of products for both employers and job seekers. Traditional keyword search for resumes is inefficient due to the high number of candidates that may have broadly relevant experiences. Such search results in a long list of candidates to choose from for recruiters, making it more time-consuming to find the right candidate. Monster's 6Sense semantic resume search has been useful for many big recruiters. The company mentioned that 97% of recruiters in the U.S. who conducted a bench-marking study reported that they found relevant candidates faster using Monster's 6Sense search.
LinkedIn's growing popularity suggests competition for Monster is increasing
Monster is facing tough competition from LinkedIn in particular. Many LinkedIn members are employed and are known as “passive candidates”, the kind of candidates recruiters covet since conventional wisdom is that the best people already have jobs. Monster does not have a similar network, as Monster.com traditionally attracted candidates when they were either unemployed or were considering changing their job. In essence, the company’s business model is getting outdated and the recruitment industry is rapidly expanding beyond traditional job boards. While Monster is introducing new technology that can better match recruiters and headhunters with their target professionals, inability to outpace competition could further impact Monster's business in the future.
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How do we get the historical numbers for this chart?
Trefis has a team of in-house Analysts who gather historical data from company filings and other verifiable sources. When historicals are available, we explain how we got them at the bottom of the Trefis analysis section below.
Who came up with the Trefis forecast for future years?
The Trefis team of in-house Analysts considers a variety of factors when projecting any forecast. The rationale for our projections is explained in the Trefis analysis section below.
How does my dragging the trendline on the chart impact the stock price?
- We use forecasts for business drivers to calculate forecasted Revenues and Profits for each division of the company.
- We then use forecasted Profits in a Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model to obtain the Price Estimate for the company.
See more on: DCF Methodology
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