Atlassian’s founders have spent years fending off incessant speculation on when they might list the successful, home-grown technology company.
So when the Wall Street Journal revealed the company had privately filed papers in the United States for an initial public offering (IPO), attention on the company once again reached fever pitch.
According to the news report, which cites unnamed sources, Atlassian’s IPO is expected before the end of the year.
Privately, the company is valued $3 billion-plus – granting it membership to an exclusive club of privately-held start-ups worth over $1 billion, and which are known in Silicon Valley parlance as ‘unicorns’.
Some observers heralded the IPO as another chapter in Atlassian’s success story.
Aust digital company going to the next level. Hope we don't lose the opportunity to support more of this at the ATP. http://t.co/MEddU7qWwk
— Penny Sharpe (@PennySharpemlc) September 27, 2015
But others saw the US listing – and the snub of the ASX – as a “blow to Australia’s tech sector”.
"The best thing Atlassian could have done for the local sector would have been to list in Australia," Freelancer CEO Matt Barrie told Reuters. Freelancer went public in Australia.
Financiers from Hamilton Wealth Management and Perpetual Investments shared the sentiment, but weren’t surprised.
Hamilton’s CEO Will Hamilton told the Australian Financial Review that the US likely accounted for the “majority” of Atlassian’s earnings and was also an easier place to raise capital.
Atlassian’s co-founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar have appeared often bemused at the constant IPO questions.
Last year, the Australian Financial Review reported Cannon-Brookes appeared “tired of frequent speculation about an initial public offering” and that he saw “no need to rush”.
“You guys keep asking about that [the IPO] . . . we try to slow down. I don’t think we could move any faster, I don’t think we feel any extra impetus to move faster," Cannon-Brookes said.
However, the speculation returned in full force when Atlassian appointed a veteran US chief financial officer in February this year.
Many observers saw it as a “clear” sign of an accelerating path to public listing.
Cannon-Brookes again took to the media to relieve the renewed pressure on the company to list and reiterate his circumspect view on the fascination with whether or not the company would ever list.
“I think the fixation with IPOs here is weird,” Cannon-Brookes told The Australian.
“It will be a speed bump for the business. It will happen when we’re ready - when the business is culturally ready to do it.”