Market disclosure and governance challenges when floating university research on the stock market: the float of Melbourne IT limited by the University of Melbourne

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Abstract

Whilst most Australian universities are very familiar with the heavy burden of complying with laws relating to the proper management of the public sector, they have had fewer opportunities to gain experience complying with laws regulating the proper management of the private sector. The need to reconcile these two regulatory burdens is particularly challenging when those universities seek to commercialise their research, especially through floating subsidiary companies on the Australian Stock Exchange. This article examines the events which led to the first float of a company by an Australian university, that of Melbourne IT Pty Ltd ('MelbIT') by the University of Melbourne in 1999. Amongst its other activities, MelbIT held the commercially valuable right to process applications to register dot-com.au domain names, a right which aligned with significant investor interest in Internet-based business models in the 1990s. Using new primary sources, it is a case study of the challenges that affected the University's governance, and of the importance of making full disclosures to the market during the time before the initial public offering of their shares to investors (known as the pre-IPO period).
LanguageEnglish
Pages1-29
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of law, information and science
Volume23
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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university research
floating
stock market
governance
investor
university
subsidiary company
market
stock exchange
Law
management
private sector
public sector
Internet
event
experience

Cite this

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abstract = "Whilst most Australian universities are very familiar with the heavy burden of complying with laws relating to the proper management of the public sector, they have had fewer opportunities to gain experience complying with laws regulating the proper management of the private sector. The need to reconcile these two regulatory burdens is particularly challenging when those universities seek to commercialise their research, especially through floating subsidiary companies on the Australian Stock Exchange. This article examines the events which led to the first float of a company by an Australian university, that of Melbourne IT Pty Ltd ('MelbIT') by the University of Melbourne in 1999. Amongst its other activities, MelbIT held the commercially valuable right to process applications to register dot-com.au domain names, a right which aligned with significant investor interest in Internet-based business models in the 1990s. Using new primary sources, it is a case study of the challenges that affected the University's governance, and of the importance of making full disclosures to the market during the time before the initial public offering of their shares to investors (known as the pre-IPO period).",
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