Valley in merger fever: Google looks at SimplyHired?

googlesimplyhired.gifOver coffee today, Silicon Valley lawyer Warren Lazarow was telling VentureBeat that merger and acquisition activity is “out of control….there’s more action right now than during the boom.”

A few minutes later, Lazarow, a leading lawyer at O’Melveny & Myers, looked down at his Blackberry, and became transfixed by an email. He got up and, as if in a trance, wandered out of the Woodside Bakery, not once taking his eye off the Blackberry. A deal was apparently underway.

We’re not sure if it had to do with the latest rumor: Google is considering buying Job search engine SimplyHired. It could have been that, or one of countless others: Microsoft and Yahoo are also talking (WSJ subscription required). Yesterday, San Jose’s Adobe Systems said it would acquire Scene7, a Novato, Calif. start-up that helps retailers add rich media to their Web sites (see announcement). Cisco, it seems, is buying a company every couple of weeks. Deal lawyers are in hot demand. In the past few weeks, lawyer rates have gone up between $10 and $80 an hour, depending on seniority. Salaries for 25-year-old, first-year lawyers are $160,000 base.

Back to the latest news, re Google. It comes from comments made by Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdry, who reportedly said Google “is stepping up its efforts to buy VC-backed SimplyHired,” as cited by TheAlarmClock. We haven’t confirmed anything, this is definitely rumor for now. Remember, everyone talks with everyone in this environment.

SimplyHired recently launched its job-o-matic service, which lets bloggers create their own job boards, and they signed deals to power MySpace and LinkedIn jobs. SimplyHired has raised $17.7 million from Fox Interactive Media (News Corp), Foundation Capital and others, most recently at a rumored sub-$40 million post money valuation. See our coverage here.

Three million came from early Google advisor Rajeev Motwani and investor Ron Conway, so the Google connection is there already. SimplyHired faces stiff competition from multiple sites, including Monster, HotJobs, Craigslist, Indeed and Jobster.