July 3, 2011

Majority Stake In GoDaddy Sold To Investment Firms

The parent company of GoDaddy.com has announced the sale of a majority stake in the Web hosting and domain name registration firm to investment firms Kohlberg, Kravis, and Roberts (KKR), Silver Lake, and Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV).

Terms of the transaction--which is officially being dubbed a "partnership"--were not officially disclosed, but the AFP news agency, citing Wall Street Journal reports, claims that the deal was valued at $2.25 billion, as well as the assumption of Go Daddy Group, Inc.'s debt. The Associated Press (AP) reported similar figures in its report Friday, citing "a person familiar with the transaction" as their anonymous source.

"I've always said we would make a move like this when the right deal with the right partners could help us do the right thing for our customers and our employees," Go Daddy CEO and Founder Bob Parsons said in a statement. "This is it! We are partnering with KKR, Silver Lake and TCV because of their technology expertise, their understanding of Web based businesses and because their values align with ours. We believe, together, we will take the company to the next level, especially when it comes to accelerating international growth."

The company, which was founded in 1997, claims to be "the world's largest on-ramp for cloud-based software and services" in a fact sheet accompanying the announcement. They reportedly serve more than nine million customers worldwide, with a total of 48 million domain names globally currently in their portfolio.

According to the AP's Jordan Robertson, the sale comes as Go Daddy is expected to "top $1.1 billion in revenue this year because expanding Internet use has fueled the creation of more websites and the 'domains' needed to help find them."

"Go Daddy is powerfully positioned for future growth as it continues to innovate and add to its truly unique platform of cloud-based software and services," Silver Lake Managing Director Greg Mondre said. "At the same time, we plan to maintain and augment all of the attributes that have made Go Daddy a clear market leader today, including world class customer support and competitive pricing for its 9.3 million customers."

KKR software and Internet head Herald Chen added that his private equity firm was "pleased to be partnering with a high-growth market leader and an outstanding team"¦  Building on Go Daddy's exceptional customer service and loyal customer base, we believe there is significant opportunity to expand the current portfolio of products and services as well as accelerate growth internationally."

The partnership is subject to customary closing conditions, the company said in its statement. A representative for KKR also confirmed to ESPN.com that the company would remain the primary sponsor for NASCAR and IndyCar race driver Danica Patrick, who also serves as a spokeswoman for the website registrar and hosting firm.


On the Net: