Just over three years since an Aconex shareholder dispute with the management team was settled out of court, another legal action began on Monday in Melbourne – as I noted on Friday. The Australian construction collaboration technology provider is again being challenged by Hawthorn Glen and Ian Baillieu, this time over the conduct of an EGM in January 2011 (post).
This latest action appears to have arisen because Aconex has not allowed shareholders access to documents relevant to the EGM, after which there were allegations of conflict of interest involving lawyer and Aconex non-executive director Michael Robinson (see Aconex director under scrutiny). After the initial hearing on Monday, the case will be heard in court in late August. Meanwhile, it has prompted more interest and speculation from the Australian legal gossip blog, FirmSpy (see AllensGate Update: Shareholders Issue Proceedings Against Aconex, Shitfight Ensues).
Update (18,19 July 2011) – The pre-match sparring has started in earnest. Australian newspaper the Sydney Morning Herald (and The Age; see also SmartCompany) has been reporting more details of the background to January’s EGM. It quotes Aconex shareholder James Baillieu allegedly threatening to bankrupt former chairman Martin Hosking, and it is suggested that Aconex co-founder and CEO Leigh Jasper ”made no mention of a write-off by the company of $6.4 million or of cancelled bookings” during a presentation to shareholders on 28 January.
Company documents filed with the court show revenue for the three months to the end of December was $9.2 million, down from $10 million in the previous three months, but bookings for future work were up 43 per cent, to $16.4 million (see also my 17 February 2011 blog posts, Accounting for Aconex, and Aconex director under scrutiny).