Recruitment firm receives takeover interest

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The Independent Online

Michael Page International shares soared more than 30 per cent today after the recruitment firm confirmed a takeover approach from global rival Adecco.

The company's market value topped £1.1 billion following the news, although Michael Page said the offer from the Swiss firm came with a number of pre-conditions, including due diligence.

A statement from the FTSE 250 Index company added that it believes it has a "very strong future" as an independent group.

The company was launched in 1976 by Michael Page and Bill McGregor from an office in London and made its first move overseas in 1985, opening an office in Australia. Mr Page retired from the business in 1995.

The group operates through 166 offices in 28 countries worldwide and has more than 5,000 staff. It employs around 1,850 people in the UK, a figure which increased this year following the opening of new offices at Cardiff, Newcastle and Canterbury.

The UK business contributes nearly a third of group profits, but it saw growth slow to a near standstill in the company's most recent quarter as the financial sector turmoil put a brake on new hirings.

Growth on mainland Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Americas meant overall gross profits were up 26 per cent to £152.4 million during the second quarter.

Adecco, which has 7,000 offices in 60 countries, was created in 1996, following the merger of Adia in Switzerland and Ecco of France.

The company's UK head office is at Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, while it has more than 400 locations in the UK and Ireland.