Hiring bankers

Once thought to be just part of the broader ERP offering, the so-called human capital management (HCM) market has come into its own in recent years. That has meant a few IPOs (going back to when there was a market for the offerings) as well as two or three HCM deals each year worth more than $100m. Recently, those twin threads came together in HireRight. The $195m acquisition of that company, which sells pre-employment screening software, closed earlier this month, almost exactly a year after the company went public.

In addition to the acquisition of HireRight by a private company serving the US government, we also noted one of the largest deals for market consolidation earlier this summer when Taleo spent $129m for longtime recruiting software rival Vurv Technology. (As opposed to consolidation, earlier HCM deals were typically done as a way for the acquirer to get into new markets or expand its product portfolio, such as outsourcing giant ADP spending an estimated $160m two years ago for Employease, an on-demand HCM vendor focused on the midmarket.)

So what does HCM deal flow look like for the rest of the year? Salary.com, which picked up a small British firm on Tuesday, has indicated that it plans to ink another deal or two before the year is out. Salary.com went public last year and has done two deals since then, including this week’s $5m purchase of InfoBasis.

More intriguing, however, is the rumor we heard from two market sources that PreVisor, a PE-backed HCM vendor selling employee screening and testing software, is looking to sell. The company was formed in August 2005 through the combination of three companies, and it has done a handful of acquisitions since then. There is no initial word on who might be bidding on PreVisor, which is owned by Veronis Suhler Stevenson.

HCM deal flow

Period Deal volume Deal value
Jan.-Aug. 2006 45 $617m
Jan.-Aug. 2007 35 $2bn
Jan.-Aug. 2008 26 $511m

Source: The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase