Matt Barrie had a definite rock star moment when he rung the bell signifying Freelancer.com’s listing on the ASX today.
Freelancer commenced trading under the code FLN at noon.
It opened at $2.50 – five times the offer price of $0.50.
That gives Freelancer a market capitalisation of just over $1 billion.
Barrie, in his signature buttoned-down white shirt, celebrated the launch in a room packed with staff in Freelancer t-shirts and suited-up investors.
Energy in the room intensified palpably a minute to the float, when ASX manager Graham O’Brien announced that buyers were bidding up to $4 per share, and sellers were offering to sell at a low of $2.19.
Here’s what happened:
Freelancer founder and CEO Matt Barrie - notably, with no champagne glass in hand - prior to the float.
ASX manager Graham O'Brien gets the crowd excited about the opening price in the seconds leading up to the float.
Happy staff, who are also shareholders. Michael Rhufus, in the hat and blazer, is a seed investor and Freelancer's first employee.
Freelancer is the 33rd company to list on the ASX this calendar year, with listings raising a total of $5.1 billion to date – up 60% from 2012.
It joins about $30 billion worth of ASX-listed technology companies on the exchange. Barrie in recent years has been a vocal proponent of technology-related ASX listings, arguing that successful companies needed to help build up the sector in Australia.
“The listing of Freelancer is very important to Australia and to our exchange,” ASX CEO Elmer Funke Kupper said.
“It’s vital that locally developed technology businesses feel confident that ASX is their natural home when it comes to listing and raising capital.
“I’d like to thank the board of Freelancer for choosing to list on the ASX. We appreciate the confidence you’ve shown in the Australian marketplace.”
Barrie turned down a $400 million buy-out offer in September, when he decided to list Freelancer on the ASX instead.
Barrie has a 46% stake in the company he founded in 2009. Today’s opening share price values his Freelancer shares at about $500 million.