There was news Tuesday on
, a release about the company's
Web site becoming an official sponsor of the
. But that wasn't why the stock shot up 13 points, or almost 9%.
It was a good corporate sales pitch by management that helped the executive-search firm bring home the gold for its stockholders today.
TMP Worldwide was trucking out its roadshow Tuesday for a secondary offering of its stock. And from what people who have seen the company's pitch in the past say, this one's a real doozy. What the marketing company says, in a nutshell, is this: After years of handing over the lion's share of revenue to newspapers' classified-advertising departments, the company now gets to keep all the cash for itself.
"It was the only stock ever in my career that I bought following a presentation at a conference," says Brian Salerno, co-manager of the
NetNet fund, which counts TMP Worldwide among its top five holdings. "I heard the presentation and was overwhelmed by the opportunity. I said we just have got to own this one."
Of course, Salerno can afford to be giddy. The presentation was at the
Goldman Sachs Technology Investment Symposium
February in New York. After he heard it, he went out and bought the stock in the 40s. It closed Tuesday at 161, giving TMP a market capitalization north of $6 billion, after trading as high as 168 1/2.
Salerno isn't the only one sold on the pitch, which is usually delivered by COO James Treacy.
"They tend to be pretty bullish in their presentation," says one Wall Street analyst who covers the stock. "They have a lot of confidence." Treacy didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.
In years past, big corporate clients would ask TMP Worldwide to find 20 systems programmers, in, say, the Chicago area. TMP would then target the right ad outlets in that area to find the right people. But a big chunk of its client's fee would go to the advertising source.
Now, with Monster.com, TMP can keep almost all of its fee, plus get something more. Through the Internet, the company collects resumes online and then sells them back to its clients for an additional fee.
"Now the channel is going both ways and they're the power play right in the middle," Salerno says. "It's not an Internet company, its not a technology company, but they're using the Internet to fundamentally change their business for the better."
Of course, those kids on the Monster.com commercials haven't hurt, either. And the company has bought advertising during the
, which, along with TMP's secondary offering, promises to garner more attention for the company in the near term.
Which only brings up the question of how the stock will perform over the long run. It's easy to like a stock at 40. At 161, it takes a little more devotion.
"We're getting into nosebleed territory for the entire group again," says Jeffrey Silber, an analyst who covers the recruiting space, but not TMP Worldwide, for
Gerard Klauer Mattison
. "But we've hit it before and then just kept going."
Or in other words, the sector's had an Olympic run.