December 18, 2011

Go Daddy nets deal to grow globally

Scottsdale-based Internet domain registrar and Web-hosting service Go Daddy Group Inc. on Friday closed on an investment partnership that will allow it to tap more deeply into international markets, company officials said.

Under the deal, Go Daddy founder Bob Parsons has stepped down from his role as CEO but will stay on as executive chairman of the company's board of directors.

Warren Adelman, who has been serving as president and chief operating officer, was named Go Daddy's new chief executive.

Company officials did not disclose the specific amount of the investment but have indicated previously that it would boost the company's valuation to $2 billion. Reports by tech-industry analysts and journals have quoted investment figures ranging from $2.25 billion to $2.5 billion.

The investment capital comes through a partnership with three private-equity firms: New York-basedKohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P., Menlo Park, Calif.-based Silver Lake and Palo Alto, Calif.-based Technology Crossover Ventures.

Parsons said Friday that he was given the option to continue on as the company's top executive but decided that Adelman was better-suited for the job.

"I want to do whatever is going to help the company succeed," Parsons said.

He praised Adelman, who has been with Go Daddy for more than eight years, for his tireless work ethic, brains and attention to detail. "At the end of the day, he's better than I am," Parsons said. "Most of the stuff I get credit for is stuff that he did."

Parsons said he remains the company's single largest shareholder, a condition he said he insisted on when negotiating the investment deal, and still has a strong incentive to see the company do well. No single investment partner owns a controlling interest in the company, Parsons said, adding that all of Go Daddy's top shareholders want the same things and that he doesn't expect any disagreements among them.

"I'm very excited," he said about the investment deal. "I'm happy about it."

Since the investment partnership was announced in June, Go Daddy officials have talked about how the infusion of capital would allow the company to expand into new geographic areas internationally, including Latin American and Asian markets.

In August, Adelman told The Republic that KKR, Silver Lake and Technology Crossover would be valuable partners because of their experience managing fast-growing technology firms.

"We've gotten to this level, and we've brought in these folks who have seen it all, and we can tap into their knowledge, tap into their contacts," he said. "They bring a lot of intelligence and smarts to the table that could be really helpful for us going forward as we look to going from $1 billion (revenue) to $5 billion."

by J. Craig Anderson The Arizona Republic Dec. 16, 2011 06:20 PM

Go Daddy nets deal to grow globally

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