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Monster Worldwide has bought HotJobs from Yahoo for $225 million. It will also be in charge of Yahoo’s recruitment content in North America for the next three years, bringing in perhaps another $100 million for the life of the deal from home page traffic, etc. As part of the deal, which closes in 3Q 2010, Monster also gets exclusive rights to negotiate similar arrangements with Yahoo’s overseas properties.

HotJobs has been on the market since Carol Bartz took over as CEO of Yahoo early last year (or even before). It hasn’t been clear if anyone would buy it for more than a fire-sale price. The deal’s price of $225 million does represent a significant discount from the $439 million that Yahoo paid in 2002, but it is more than some handicappers had been predicting.

The deal likely propels Monster well past Gannett’s CareerBuilder as the online recruitment leaders (by revenues). Lately, CareerBuilder’s lagging profits have become a drain on Gannett’s profits. Likewise, Monster today reported that 4Q revs were down 27 percent, and that it suffered a net loss of $2.1 million on 4Q revenues of $213 million.

For Yahoo, the deal is the latest in a series of selloffs. Notably, it sold its search business to Microsoft last year, has de-emphasized other areas such as shopping and small business, and has been rumored to put some of its other verticals in play as well.

HotJobs, of course, had been the original glue that brought Yahoo and the newspapers together. But the consortium has lately been focused more on using Yahoo’s APT behavioral targeting advertising platform. Some members of the consortium already use Monster.

Recruitment remains a huge category, but in recent years, has been challenged by the recession. It has also become a major battle zone driven by technologies, such as semantic search-and-match job listings, mapping and communities of interest. Indeed, a growing part of the market has moved to niche specialties, such as trade associations, etc. At the same time, ancillary verticals such as vocational education, relocation and job fairs have proved to be less important than once thought.

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