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Freelancer.com Rejects $400 Million Buy-Out Offer, Plans To Float On The ASX This Year

Matt BarrieMatt Barrie / Supplied

Freelancer.com founder Matt Barrie has rejected a string of buy-out and capital raising offers to float on the ASX by the end of the year.

The jobs listing site made headlines last week for a huge, $400 million buy-out offer from Japanese firm Recruit Co, a deal that would have been the largest ever for an Australian technology company.

Barrie told Business Insider today that the news had sparked yet more “unsolicited discussions”, which led to Freelancer.com on Friday pulling the trigger on its long-standing plan to float.

Freelancer.com has engaged KTM Capital to broker the deal. The company declined to comment on its capital raising target.

Barrie said the company had been bolstering its management ranks in the lead up to today’s announcement, recruiting general counsel Isla Hala from eBay and appointing former PayPal executive Greg Robinson as vice president of compliance in recent months.

“My ultimate goal for Freelancer is to build the world’s biggest internet company,” he said. “We have 9 million users globally; eBay has more than that in Australia alone.

“I’ve thought about [listing overseas] but the ASX is among the top 5 financial markets globally and 4th in terms of capital raised.

“There’s been a lot of money sitting on the sidelines since the GFC.”

According to data published by the ASX, the Australian exchange raised a total of $281 billion in capital in the 5 years to 2012. NASDAQ ranked 5th, raising $277 billion while NYSE topped the list with $1,184 billion raised.

Barrie also highlighted higher US listing fees, Freelancer.com’s local status as a “homegrown hero” and the desire to remain “masters of our own destiny” as reasons for listing locally.

Freelancer.com was founded by Barrie in 2009 and reportedly valued between $US100 million and $US250 million last year.

“Our growth has been accelerating year on year. It would have been premature to [float] prior to this,” he said.

“If you look at the composition of the ASX, it’s 40% mining companies and 40% financial services, which are also exposed to mining. We need to build the ASX up for technology companies, as we did for mining.”

Now read: Here’s Why The Freelancer.com Deal Matters To Australian Entrepreneurs

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