The sale of exclusive access to Australia’s company registration information has been halted because bids from private enterprise didn’t go high enough.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has 31 registries with more than 10 million company records, which generate about $820 million a year in revenue.
The historical and current company information was said to be worth as much as $2 billion to the right organisation.
Critics said such a privatisation would mean high company search fees where the trend in the rest of the world is to make digital records free.
Finance minister Mathias Cormann says the government decided not to proceed with the competitive tender after evaluating final bids.
“The reason the government decided not to proceed with the commercialisation of the ASIC registry is that final bids received did not deliver a net financial benefit,” he says.