By ANUPREETA DAS
Wall Street Journal
September 11, 2010
GoDaddy.com, the closely held website that registers Internet domain names, has put itself up for sale in an auction that could fetch more than $1 billion, people familiar with the matter said.
Qatalyst Partners, the boutique firm run by veteran technology banker Frank Quattrone, has been hired to shop the Go Daddy Group Inc., which runs the world's largest domain name registrar, these people said. Private-equity firms are expected to bid for the company, which currently has more than 43 million domains under management.
GoDaddy.com and Qatalyst representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Based in Scottsdale, Ariz., GoDaddy.com is owned by Bob Parsons, who founded the company in 1997 and is its chief executive-a man the company website describes as "not shy to speak his mind." The company is well known for its edgy advertising, including Super Bowl commercials and ads featuring different "Go Daddy Girls," including racing car driver Danica Patrick.
In addition to registering domain names, GoDaddy.com sells e-commerce, security and other services to people and businesses looking to manage their online presence. The company posted revenue between $750 million and $800 million in 2009, according to people familiar with the matter.
Two smaller competitors, Register.com and Network Solutions, have both been in private-equity's hands. Earlier this year, technology-focused buyout firm Vector Capital sold Register.com to another web registration and design provider , Web.com Inc., for $135 million. Network Solutions is owned by General Atlantic Partners.
Private-equity firms are attracted to the business because of the steady cash flow from monthly fee-based subscriptions and the potential for "up-selling" customers additional features to enhance their websites.
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