Kenexa Case Study

Culture of Excellence Drives Billion Dollar Exit

  • Founded as an executive recruiter, in the late 1980’s
  • Developed the “Hire, Train, Retain” outsourced human resources model
  • Purchased several companies in targeted areas; multiplied the sales post-acquisition by cross-selling to Fortune 500 customer base
  • Rapid growth attracted national attention, including membership in the INC 500 and E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year
  • In 1998, Co-Founder, decided to retire and sell his shares
  • Kenexa’s success in several business lines; online surveys, training and recruiting; required additional investment in product development and marketing
  • A Private Capital partner was chosen (in lieu of an IPO) to assist in the funding of Kenexa’s needs in a multi-level recapitalization
  • $27 million of Equity Capital from institutional investors in 1999
  • Repurchased $8 million of stock from the retiring Founder and funded expansion of new product offerings
  • Refinanced a stringent asset-based bank loan
  • Board of Directors expanded, existing management retained control
  • Financing partners added a critical capital “cushion” in 2001 downturn
  • Business model shifted successfully to recurring contracts SAS model software, supporting outsourced hiring and retention programs
  • Completion of IPO on June 29, 2005 at $12/share, rose to $38/share in 2007
  • Sold to IBM for $46/share ($1.3 billion) in August 2012, 12X original purchase price