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Seek says yahoo to employment site investment

By Aimee McClinchy

Friday 14th April 2000

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Internet giant Yahoo has made its first internet investment outside the US by investing $A6.5 million in online employment site Seek Communications Australia and New Zealand.

Yahoo Australia and New Zealand has taken an undisclosed "good sized" minority equity position through its parent company Nasdaq-listed Yahoo, cementing an alliance with the region's leading online employment sites.

Seek.com.au has topped survey results from research house Media Metrix with the Australian site attracting 237,000 unique visitors in February, more than double that of its closest competitor.

The local company and site, www.seek.co.nz, have been running since September 1999. The site has more than 44,500 monthly visitors and 18,000 jobs listed, business development manager Patrick Pruett said.

The local site, which allowed candidates to reply directly to advertised positions, covered all main occupations and had big name consultancy clients including Sheffield, Opal and Drake, Mr Pruett said.

Seek Communications is believed to be preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) and Australian Stock exchange listing later this year.

Melbourne-based chief executive Paul Bassat has been reluctant to discuss the move but last week told reporters the timing of the investment was not connected to any IPO plans.

Mr Bassat said both the local and Australian site would become the principal suppliers of employment listings for Yahoo Australia and New Zealand and Seek would run an extensive marketing campaign across media and the Yahoo global network.

Yahoo timed the announcement of its cash investment, the first in a non-subsidiary outside the US, with the release of profits for the quarter to March 31 of $US63.3 million on revenues of $US228.4 million.

Yahoo Australia and New Zealand managing director Tony Faure said the investment fitted Yahoo's strategy of offering services in key areas including classifieds.

He signalled there would be other situations where Yahoo would partner companies on a non-equity basis.

Seek Communications is a three-year-old company. It received a $A5 million capital injection from investment banks Macquarie Bank, Gresham Partners and Australian Mezzanine Investments late last year to fund its high-profile TV campaign which began locally this month.

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