GoDaddy reportedly to be sold to private-equity groups

Domain registrar could fetch $2 billion to $2.5 billion, Wall Street Journal writes


It appears Bob Parsons, the crass chief executive of GoDaddy, has gone from bagging elephants to scoring a huge payday for selling the domain registrar and web hosting company he founded in 1997.

The Wall Street Journal reports that two private-equity firms and a third investor are close to purchasing GoDaddy Group Inc. for $2 billion to $2.5 billion.

The WSJ, citing the usual "people familiar with the matter," says the deal isn't final, but that "announcement of the sale could come as early as next week."

(Also see: GoDaddy goes from racy ads to the truly offensive)

The two private-equity firms reportedly involved are KKR & Co. and Silver Lake Partners. Silver Lake, if you recall, is the company seemingly behind the screwing of eight executives from Skype who were fired before the company's $8.5 billion acquisition by Microsoft, thus reducing their payouts and leaving more for Silver Lake, which owned 70 percent of the Internet phone service. Funny how that stuff works out.

The WSJ reported last September that GoDaddy was shopping itself around and was looking for $1.5 billion to $2 billion. GoDaddy ended the bidding process a month later for undisclosed reasons.

Parsons ignited a firestorm in March for posting a truly tasteless video of himself and several other armed "hunters" shooting an elephant at nighttime in Zimbabwe (see link above). In addition to the actual shooting, Parson's self-aggrandizing video featured cheesy heavy metal music and tribesmen wearing GoDaddy hats as they carved up the dead animal. Hey, a branding opportunity's a branding opportunity.

Prior to that, GoDaddy mostly was known for running "racy" commercials that made you embarrassed to watch the Super Bowl with your children. If the deal goes through, maybe it will run Super Bowl commercials explaining how private-equity firms can hose executives of the companies they sell out of their stock options.

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