On Assignment, Inc. (NYSE:ASGN
) is a leading professional staffing provider, serving the technology, healthcare and life science verticals. ASGN focuses on higher-end math and science skills that are specialized knowledge bases in demand in this recovery. The company has been one of the fastest growing public staffing companies and has the highest profit margins. ASGN made an important acquisition of Apex Systems during the quarter, and we participated in a public offering in conjunction with the deal. Apex more than doubled the revenue base of ASGN and tilted the mix of revenues, now to about 75%, in the faster growing IT sector. The deal is nicely accretive, and we feel comfortable that the substantial debt being assumed is appropriate and will enhance shareholder returns. We had an investment in ASGN a decade ago and have been tracking its renaissance for some time. We expect strong margin increases and free cash flow to drive earnings growth, though we are mindful of cyclical risks, and we believe the company is an attractive acquisition target down the road.
From Baron Funds third quarter letter.