Staffing agencies, both for temporary and permanent hires, have been having a pretty good year so far. Things got better today as On Assignment Inc. (NASDAQ: ASGN) announced the acquisition of privately held Apex Systems in a cash and stock deal worth more than $500 million, plus the assumption of $100 million in existing Apex debt.
The deal creates a company with a pro forma revenue of $1.3 billion, and On Assignment will become the second-largest IT staffing company in the US. On Assignment’s share price has risen more than 22% so far this year, not counting today’s spike. Competitor Robert Half has seen its share price rise about 7.4%, while Manpower Group (NYSE: MAN) is up nearly 30%, Kforce Inc. (NASDAQ: KFRC) is up about 19% and Kelly Services Inc. (NASDAQ: KELYA) is up nearly 14%. Lower unemployment, more job openings, and an overall improvement in the US economy have led to the higher share prices.
On Assignment’s shares are up about 28% today, at $17.50 after posting a new 52-week high of $18.25 earlier today. The stock’s 52-week range is $6.27-$18.25.