Atlassian Is Offering Staff Share Options Ahead Of A Wall Street Listing

Atlassian co-CEOs Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes

Australian technology darling Atlassian has invited staff to apply for shares in the company ahead of a highly anticipated US IPO.

Under the offer, which expires on 13 January 2015, permanent employees may apply to buy stock options or restricted stock units that will convert into class A ordinary shares when the company lists.

As of December 12, employees owned 4% of Atlassian, but could hold up to 16.1% of the company if all existing stock options were exercised.

Atlassian valued restricted shares at an average of $0.62 per share last financial year.

Bloomberg reports that founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar control a vast majority of the company, while venture capital company Accel owns 10%.

Relocating to the UK

Atlassian operates predominantly in Sydney, San Francisco and Amsterdam but the company has proposed to establish a holding company in England and Wales to appeal to overseas investors.

Atlassian has been preparing to go public for the past several years, and although company executives have been coy on details, Farquhar and Connecticut-born Cannon-Brookes have publicly stated that any listing would not be on the Australian Securities Exchange, where there are few comparable software companies.

Shareholders will vote on the restructure on 29 January; Bloomberg reports that Atlassian found Britain’s foreign-investment regime “more relaxed and its corporate law … better understood than regulations in Australia”.

An unnamed investor will buy up to 8% of Atlassian after the move, Bloomberg reports.

It is unclear how the establishment of a British holding company might impact Atlassian’s day-to-day operations. Chairman Doug Bergam told Business Insider Australia late last year that there was no reason forcing the co-founders, who run the company as co-CEOs, to move to the US should the company list on Wall Street.

“It’s not a listing requirement and these two have clearly shown that they can lead a global company based out of Sydney. They may have to travel more than they want to but that’s part of building a global company, no matter where you’re based,” he said.

“There are lots of foreign companies on US exchanges – less from Australia but more from the UK and other areas,” Cannon-Brookes said at the time.

“They probably all operate an office in the US to some level but their CEOs are usually in Israel or the UK or China for example.”