Go Daddy Group Inc., an Internet domain-name and hosting company, is in talks to be bought by a group led by KKR & Co. and Silver Lake Partners for more than $2 billion, according to a person with knowledge of the process.
The person declined to be identified because the matter is private. Go Daddy, a closely held company based in Scottsdale, Arizona, has more than 48 million domains under management.
Go Daddy, which registers domains and hosts websites for as little as $5 a month, has sought to raise its profile in recent years by running suggestive ads during the Super Bowl with race car driver Danica Patrick. The marketing helped the company reach small-and medium-sized businesses that need help running sites, Melanie Posey, analyst with IDC in New York.
“It’s a market that’s not hard to get into, so there’s a low barrier to entry but there’s a high barrier to success,” Posey said. “What Go Daddy has managed to do is kind of achieve the kind of scale you need to be successful in this market.”
Spokesmen for Silver Lake and Go Daddy didn’t return calls seeking comment. Kristi Huller, a spokeswoman for New York-based KKR, declined to comment.
Go Daddy was founded in 1997 by Chief Executive Officer Bob Parsons. Previously, he taught himself computer programming and started Parsons Technology in 1984 while working in his basement, according to his website. A decade later, he says he sold Parsons to Intuit Inc. for $64 million.
Parsons, who says he was in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War, lists 16 rules for success in life and business on his site, including “be quick to decide” and “don’t take yourself too seriously.”
Silver Lake is a Menlo Park, California-based private equity firm that focuses on investing in technology companies. KKR, the leveraged-buyout firm run by Henry Kravis and George Roberts, invests in private equity, debt and capital markets.
The New York Post reported earlier today that KKR is leading a group that is close to purchasing Go Daddy.