Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Management buyout at Castle Links - 05/2001

Leading Internet jobs posting company gains new owners

Six senior managers have reached agreement to purchase a further 50% of the shares in Castle Links, leading up to them gaining 100% ownership of the company. The terms involve one up front payment followed by 3 further performance related considerations. At the same time extra working capital is being injected to enable the company to accelerate the development and rollout of the next releases of its AMS jobs posting services.

Mark West, projects director and member of the buyout team commented ìThis is a marvellous opportunity. We have a market leading product that has been held back of late from under investment and lack of decision making. Capacity problems that were beginning to affect throughput can now be addressed by investing in new servers and faster rollout of our next release.î

Customers and partners too will welcome the extra investment. Chris Smith, managing director of ECRM People said ìWhen we first started using the AMS to post jobs it was marvellous. It is still the best on the market, but since it has become more and more popular the performance, particularly on a Friday afternoon is beginning to slowî. He continued, ìIím looking forward to the AMS speeding up again. Iíve seen and used the new version of the AMS which all new customers are being serviced by. This addresses a lot of the niggles in the current version and also has a much better media gateway to get jobs on to job boards more quickly. Iím looking forward to when existing users can transfer acrossî.

Brian Johnson, sales director added ìIím delighted. The past few months have been somewhat frustrating, but now that the restrictions on spending and decision making have been resolved I can get out into the marketplace and promote a first class service to customersî.

Castle Links was the first player in the market to offer a jobs posting service. Although it employs some 25 staff, it has begun to suffer over the last year from internal issues which have prevented it from upgrading its systems. The AMS jobs posting service sits on some 3,000 desktops and on busy days over 80,000 jobs get processed. Over the past year throughput performance has slipped as volumes have grown.

The resolution to Castle Linksí internal issues is welcomed all round. The company can now get its act together quickly and implement the changes and developments that will allow it to expand its customer base apace. It now has the money and the management freedom to do so.