Go Daddy provides individuals and businesses with Internet services, such as domain name registration and website hosting, along with services and software for functions that include e-mail, e-commerce, podcasting, and website creation. Offering discounted pricing on domain names and hosting services, it is now the largest global domain registrar accredited by Internet regulatory body ICANN, boasting some 53 million domain names. Go Daddy targets niche markets the likes of private domains and reseller programs through affiliates Domains By Proxy and Wild West Domains. While both KKR and Silver Lake have been partners in Go Daddy since 2011, founder Bob Parsons remains its majority shareholder. It filed an IPO in 2014.
KKR and Silver Lake were part of a consortium of private equity investors, which also included Technology Crossover Ventures, that made a $2.25 billion investment in Go Daddy through a partnership agreement in late 2011. (Both Silver Lake and Technology Crossover Ventures specialize in technology investments.)
In mid-2014, however, the company filed an IPO seeking $100 million, although it will likely fetch much more upon pricing. Go Daddy plans to use the proceeds to pay down debt and for general corporate purposes; it has not turned a profit since 2009.
This would be the company's second attempt at an IPO. Go Daddy first filed in 2006 but withdrew the offering a few months later, citing unfavorable market conditions.
Based in Arizona, Go Daddy operates internationally through additional offices in Canada, India, Singapore, and the Netherlands. In the US, it has offices in Arizona, Iowa, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Washington, DC.
Go Daddy's business comprises three ICANN-accredited domain name registrars, including flagship registrar GoDaddy.com, LLC; membership-based Blue Razor Domains, LLC; and reseller Wild West Domains, LLC.
In addition to its core Web services, Go Daddy is a leading host for the digital SSL (secure sockets layer) certificates that enable encrypted transmission of sensitive data such as credit card numbers and other personal information over the Web. The company sells and hosts the certificates for website owners to ensure that confidential information sent or received via a website is not intercepted by unauthorized viewers. Go Daddy has further expanded its range of services with the introduction of online incorporation services for businesses wanting to register as a corporation or limited liability company.
Amid a buoyant market for tech IPOs, the company's owners are said to be mulling an IPO for Go Daddy in 2014. (The company tried unsuccessfully to raise $200 million by going public in 2006.) Go Daddy has used KKR and Silver Lake's financial backing to fund acquisitions, boost its portfolio of products and services (especially in the high-profit data storage arena), and expand its presence internationally.
Go Daddy has expanded into India (a key market for the firm), offering domain names using the country's extension, .IN, since 2009 and aims to make the country its largest international call center. It opened a customer care center in Hyderabad, India in 2012. The move follows Go Daddy's expansion into the Netherlands (in 2009) and in Singapore (in 2010) with data centers to accommodate growth in its customer base in Europe and Asia. (The company prefers to operate its own data centers so it can control factors such as uptime, security, and speed.)
Strategically, Go Daddy is looking to become a one-stop shop for small and midsized businesses by providing an Internet presence, hosted infrastructure services, and cloud-based applications.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In October 2013, Go Daddy purchased (mt) Media Temple, a Los Angeles-based Web hosting and cloud services company. In August 2013, Go Daddy acquired San Francisco-based Locu, creator of the Get Found tool that enables small businesses to be found online. Launched in 2011, Locu is used by more than 30,000 businesses, including restaurants, salons, accountants, and others, to promote their services across Locu's partner network. In April, the company bought Ronin, an online invoicing company, and quickly integrated it into GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping. Building on its dominant position in domain name registration, Go Daddy acquired Afternic, a domain name aftermarket company in Massachusetts. The purchase boosted Go Daddy's aftermarket inventory of registered domain names.
In 2012 Go Daddy purchased Outright, a provider of cloud-based financial management software for small businesses and entrepreneurs. The software automates many accounting tasks commonly used by small businesses; its web and mobile application imports data from e-commerce sites, including eBay, PayPal, Amazon.com, and Etsy. The purchase builds on the company's Go Daddy Cloud Servers. Cloud servers enable small businesses to set up and manage private cloud server networks with the ability to scale and rent online software as their business grows.
Chairman Bob Parsons founded the company in 1997. Go Daddy has experienced rapid growth in its short history in part due to high-profile advertising campaigns that have included controversial Super Bowl commercials and Go Daddy Girls. (It's working to soften its image.) Two of its most famous Go Daddy Girls are Indy race car driver and sometime swimsuit model Danica Patrick and fitness guru Jillian Michaels.