Randstad, the world's second-largest staffing agency, beat market forecasts for core earnings on Tuesday and said that if it can get its offer for Monster Worldwide accepted by more than 50% of shareholders it will succeed.
The Dutch group is facing opposition from U.S. newspaper operator MediaNews Group (mdwg), controlled by hedge fund Alden Global, which has amassed a 11.5% stake in Monster (mww) and has urged other shareholders to resist Randstad's bid.
"We have made a pretty good offer and we have the agreement of the board of Monster," Randstad CFO Robert Jan van de Kraats told Reuters following the results, adding that Randstad (ranjy) would "ultimately" not accept owning Monster while MediaNews remains a large minority shareholder.
"But we think if we get 50.1% of the shares, that will bring us eventually to owning 100% of the shares."
Randstad made a $3.40 per share, or $429 million, bid for Monster, famous for its jobs listings board, in August. The offer expires at midnight on Friday, but was complicated by MediaNews last week making a $3.70 per share bid for another 10% of Monster shares, if the Randstad bid fails.
"This [MediaNews Group] is a shareholder making an offer once ours has expired," Van de Kraats said. "That means existing shareholders have to choose between accepting ours or going for theirs -- but then ours is gone."
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WEAK POUND WEIGHS
Shares in Randstad had risen by 4.2% to 47.42 euros by 07:06 GMT after it said its underlying earnings before interest, taxes and amortisation (EBITA) rose 9% to 271 million euros, while sales increased 7.5% to nearly 5.35 billion euros.
Underlying EBITA was seen rising 6% to 264 million euros, according to the poll of five analysts by Reuters. Analysts had expected an average 7.3% increase in sales to 5.34 billion euros.
U.S. revenue growth was flat, while revenues were strong across Europe, with the notable exception of Britain, where they were down 15% due to the weak pound.
However stripping out currency effects, Van de Kraats said the company has seen no change "whatsoever" in its British business since Britain's vote to leave the European Union.
The company said third quarter trends were so far continuing into the fourth quarter.