March 1, 2012 / 6:10 PM / 6 years ago

Monster soars as CEO mulls "strategic alternatives"

* Company undervalued compared with peers - CEO

* Monster has no interest in acquisitions - CEO

* Shares up 17.6 percent

(Adds quotes, details; updates stock)

March 1 (Reuters) - Online recruitment company Monster Worldwide Inc MWW.N Chief Executive Sal Iannuzzi told investors on Thursday the company is considering all “strategic alternatives,” sending Monster’s shares up 17.6 percent on the New York Stock Exchange.

“Our shareholders deserve a better return,” Iannuzzi told an investor conference. “The board and the management is also focused on pursuing all strategic alternatives to increase shareholder value.”

Iannuzzi did not specify what alternatives the company was considering. However, investors typically interpret discussions of “strategic alternatives” as an indication a company is considering selling all or part of itself.

A Monster spokeswoman declined to make any further comment on Iannuzzi’s remarks.

Monster shares were up $1.22 at $8.16 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Iannuzzi said his company, which runs the recruiting site, regards itself as sharply undervalued compared with its peers, which include Dice Holdings Inc (DHX.N) and Manpower Group (MAN.N).

“The stock price is not where it should be,” Iannuzzi said. “If you compare us to our competition, any company in our space, our multiple is severely below them.”

He added that Monster itself has no interest in pursuing takeovers of its own.

“We have no acquisitions in mind,” Iannuzzi said. “So if anyone’s concerned about where our money is going to go, we don’t have acquisitions. Any excess cash will be returned to the shareholders via stock purchase.”

Over the past year, Monster shares have fallen about 60.8 percent, while the Thomson Reuters United States Employment Services Index .TRXFLDUSPSVHR has tumbled 20.8 percent.

(Reporting By Scott Malone; editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Andre Grenon)

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