Spike, travel.com.au Prepare Australian IPO Rush

Two of the more prominent Internet companies in
Australia, Spike and travel.com.au, are completing preparations for what
promise to be exuberant initial public offerings (IPOs).

Online travel services provider travel.com.au will lead off a spate of IPOs
on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) next week with an offering worth
AUS$23.5 million (US$15.6 million) which has been well oversubscribed.
18.8 million shares will be offered at AUS$1.25 (US$0.82), representing
44.9 percent of travel.com.au’s total equity and valuing it at AUS$52
million (US$34.7 million).

The company said the shares were “expected to be allocated evenly between
retail and institutional investors,” to be decided on Wednesday.
The float will take place on May 12.

Meanwhile, Australian Internet media developer Spike has raised AUS$13.75
million (US$9.1 million) in capital, in preparation for its listing on the
ASX later this year.

Spike’s funding has been raised by issuing convertible preference shares
that will transform into heavily discounted normal shares at the IPO to
take advantage of any stag profits accruing from the listing.
Eight Australian investment funds have been reported as being the
beneficiaries of this scheme.

The funds placement was arranged by startup financier group Hunter Bay
Partners, which itself owns a large minority stakeholding in Spike.

“The size of this pre-IPO placement demonstrates the confidence the
business community has in Spike being successful in implementing its global
business plans,” said John McGuigan, chairman of Spike and co-founder of
Hunter Bay.

Spike’s history has been as primarily a Web site development firm, but it
is one of only a handful from that industry that have managed to expand
overseas, with founder Chris O’Hanlon now based in Los Angeles.

Its interests have diversified into multimedia production, consulting,
banner advertising sales, systems integration and Web hosting services.
Although a prospectus for the Spike float has not been issued, it is
expected to occur in the middle of the year.

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