Australian jobs listing site Freelancer.com has fielded a $US400 million buy-out offer from Japanese HR site Recruit Co.
Sources close to the deal, reported by Techcrunch, have confirmed details to Business Insider.
If the deal proceeds it will make Freelancer.com Australia’s biggest technology start-up success story since software company Atlassian, which was co-founded by Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar and according to some estimates valued at as much as $1 billion.
Freelancer.com was founded by Barrie in 2009 and reportedly valued between $US100 million and $US250 million last year.
It now has around 340 staff and has offices in Europe, South America and Asia. It has acquired several competing sites in Sweden, Canada, the US, Germany and Britain.
Forty-year-old Barrie is a frequent media commentator and speaker at Australian technology and entrepreneurial events. He was placed at No.50 in the 2013 BRW Young Rich List.
Barrie holds a Masters in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, amongst other qualifications. He teaches cryptography and technology venture creation as an adjunct associate professor at Sydney University.
A $400 million buy-out would be the easily the highest price ever paid for an Australian technology start-up and make a fortune for Barrie, who is understood to own half the firm.
Dean McEvoy’s group-buying business Spreets was famously sold to Yahoo!7 for $40 million in January 2011. Norton Rose Fulbright Australia partner Nick Abrahams told the SMH last month that local technology M&A deals were strongest around the “sub-$40 million mark”.
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