BRUSSELS (Dow Jones)--The European Commission Friday cleared Swiss staffing company Adecco SA (ADEN.VX) to buy U.S.-based MPS Group Inc. (MPS) in a deal worth around $1.3 billion. MPS specializes in placing professional workers and operates in the U.K. as well as the U.S., the commission said. Adecco is the world's biggest staffing company by revenue. It expects the deal to help it boost its defenses against the economic downturn, which has hammered recruitment markets.
The deal will also give Adecco a greater presence in the U.S., the home market of its closest rival, Manpower Inc. (MAN). MPS reported $2.2 billion of revenue in 2008, adding to the GBP20 billion that Adecco generated. Manpower reported 2008 revenue of $22 billion.