Spherion looks for new owner

The Australian and New Zealand operations of IT recruitment, technology and outsourcing provider Spherion are up for sale, following the decision by its US parent to divest its overseas operations and focus on the US market.

Spherion Corporation is divesting itself of its Asia-Pacific, UK and European operations, says Asia-Pacific head Andrea Galloway.

"The US recruitment market is worth $US80 billion and the top five recruiters there only have 15% of the market. There are lots of smaller providers and Spherion believes growth in that market is where it should focus."

The education side of the Asia-Pacific operation has already been sold, effective April 1, to Australian Stock Exchange-listed company EasyCall.

"EasyCall's shareholders also own a university in China with 4000 students and that's where they saw the synergies with Spherion."

Spherion, which has three training centres in New Zealand and 10 in Australia, will be "business as usual" under the new owners, Galloway says.

The training centres made up 20% of Spherion's $A210 million Asia-Pacific annual revenues while recruitment generated the lion's share at 75%.

The recruitment, technology and outsourcing arms are still for sale and Galloway says a buyer able and willing to commit to existing contracts, some of which are long-term, is sought.

Spherion is looking at working with an investment bank on the sale, Galloway says.

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