GoDaddy, the world’s largest domain registrar, has been sold to three private equity firms in a deal valued at $2.25 billion, the company announced late Friday.
As a report predicted a week ago, private equity firms KKR & Co., Silver Lake Partners and Technology Crossover Ventures sealed the deal, where they agreed to take on GoDaddy’s debt (update: which the Wall Street Journal says amounts to roughly half the value of the deal). That earlier report indicated the company would be sold for between $2 billion and $2.5 billion.
Company founder and CEO Bob Parsons predicted further growth of GoDaddy under its new ownership. He said to the Los Angeles Times, “What these guys see is a company with a lot more potential internationally and more potential to make partnerships and acquisitions. They’ll help us finance and they’ll help us recruit talent.”
GoDaddy, known for its sexy Super Bowl ads and controversial CEO with a penchant for elephant killing, has seen significant growth over the past three years, with sales rising by 25% to $947 million from 2009 to 2010. The company projected growth for 2011 to continue that trend, quoting a figure of $1.1 billion for the year.
The New York Times, in an article entitled “Go Daddy to Sell Itself to K.K.R. and Silver Lake”, quotes Parsons as saying “This isn’t a sale. It’s a partnership that’s reinvesting in Go Daddy.” The article added that Parsons “will become executive chairman of the company after the sale closes, and he will remain a large stakeholder,” but it’s still unclear whether Parsons will retain a controlling interest in the company. A spokesperson from the Go Daddy Group, Inc. responded to our query. When we asked if Bob Parsons would retain a controlling interest in the company, and what percentage of Go Daddy Parsons would own after this deal closes, the company responded, “Mr. Parsons will continue to be the largest single shareholder, even after the agreement is finalized. This does not mean he has 51% — it means, as an individual, he would have as much ownership as any one entity.”