Market disclosure and governance challenges when floating university research on the stock market

the float of Melbourne IT limited by the University of Melbourne

John Selby*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of law, information and science
Volume23
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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