Go Daddy Gets Private Equity Boost To Fuel Cloud Play


Go Daddy, the massive Web hosting and domain player, brought in a massive investment from a trio of private equity firms to further its cloud computing agenda.

The investment comes from KKR, Silver Lake and Technology Crossover Ventures. Go Daddy wouldn't divulge the financial terms of the transaction, but several estimates put it at around $2.25 billion.

Go Daddy also stopped short of calling it a sale or acquisition, and instead is calling the deal a partnership and investment.

"I've always said we would make a move like this when the right deal with the right partners could help us do the right thing for our customers and our employees," Go Daddy CEO and founder Bob Parsons said in a statement. "This is it! We are partnering with KKR, Silver Lake and TCV because of their technology expertise, their understanding of Web based businesses and because their values align with ours. We believe, together, we will take the company to the next level, especially when it comes to accelerating international growth."

The massive investment comes as Go Daddy preps to launch its own enterprise-focused cloud computing services, Data Center On Demand, a cloud hosting play and Infrastructure-as-a-Service offering that will pit Go Daddy in a head-to-head competition with Amazon Web Services and Rackspace Hosting. A Go Daddy spokesperson has told Friday that Data Center On Demand is currently in a very limited, invite-only release as the company builds out its cloud infrastructure. The Data Center On Demand service is expected to be officially launched sometime this month.

According to 14-year-old Go Daddy, which bills itself as "the world's largest on-ramp for cloud-based software and services," the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company has more than 9.3 million global customers and manages some 48 million domain names, along with 50 different product lines that cover hosting, Web site creation, SSL certificates, e-mail with spam and anti-phishing and a host of other Web- and cloud-based tools.

It's Go Daddy's cloud-ready future that enticed investors, according to statements from the three firms that contributed. Those firms have been heavy hitters in the tech space, and most recently KKR hired HP's former networking chief Marius Haas as an industry advisor.

"Go Daddy is powerfully positioned for future growth as it continues to innovate and add to its truly unique platform of cloud-based software and services," Greg Mondre, managing director, of Silver Lake said in a statement. "At the same time, we plan to maintain and augment all of the attributes that have made Go Daddy a clear market leader today, including world class customer support and competitive pricing for its 9.3 million customers."

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