Freelancer.com announced today that it has filed for its initial public offering on the Australian Securities Exchange. The company aims to raise $15 million AUD (about $14.2 million USD). Thirty million new shares will be offered to the public at $0.50 AUD per share. Its IPO values the online services marketplace at $218 million AUD (about $206 million USD).
Freelancer.com plans to use funds raised in its IPO to fund organic growth and acquisition opportunities. The company disclosed in its prospectus that it forecasts 2013 revenue at $18.3 million AUD (about $17.3 million USD), compared to $10.6 million AUD (about $10 million USD) in 2012, with gross margins of 88%. Consolidated net profit after tax is forecast at $471,000 million AUD, a 35% decrease from $728,000 AUD in 2012. Gross payment volume in 2013 is expected to reach $80.9 million AUSD.
5.1 million new shares will be made available to eligible employees under Freelancer.com’s new employee share plan. Freelancers active on the site can invest through the Freelancer Foundation Shareholder program.
Freelancer.com is currently the world’s largest online marketplace for outsourcing and freelancing services, as measured by the total number of users and projects. The site has over 9 million users and 4.9 million projects that it says is worth over $1.2 billion AUD.
Shortly after founding in 2009, Freelancer.com acquired GetAFreelancer. Since then, it has pursued an aggressive acquisition strategy to increase its global footprint, scooping up Scriptlance in Canada, EUFreelance, LimeExchange in the U.S. and RentaCoder/vWorker. Freelancer.com has itself been an acquisition target. Last month, Japan-based HR site Recruit Co., which is also preparing for an IPO, reportedly made a $400 million offer. Like Freelancer.com, Recruit Co.’s has been busy buying up competing sites, including NuGrid in India and Indeed.com.
In Freelancer.com’s IPO prospectus, CEO and Chairman Matt Barrie said that Freelancer.com’s growth strategy focuses on the next wave of people to go online in developing economies.
“Today, I find it hard to believe that with 7.1 billion people in the world, only 2.7 billion people are on the Internet. Almost 4.5 billion people are yet to connect. We are confident that there is tremendous growth potential ahead for the Company, as the rest of the world’s population goes online,” he wrote.