Will a new ownership team with deep pockets change Go Daddy? The company’s freewheeling culture and focus on organic growth remain in place. But the domain and hosting company’s acquisition last year by a trio of private equity firms will allow Go Daddy to expand in new ways, according to CEO Warren Adelman.
The entry of KKR, Silver Lake Partners and Technology Crossover Ventures as strategic investors will allow Go Daddy to ramp up its international expansion, and positions the company to grow through acquisitions, Adelman said.
“International growth is important to us,” said Adelman. “There are these greenfield opportunities in areas of the world where Internet adoption is in its early stages. In many parts of the world there’s no leadership.”
As a first step towards international growth, Go Daddy just launched a Spanish-language version of its web site.
The potential for global expansion was cited by company founder Bob Parsons when the deal was announced last July. “These three firms have what it takes to help lift Go Daddy to the next level,” he said. “KKR, Silver Lake and TCV each have a keen sense for technology and a proven savvy with international business affairs.”
Parsons remains the company’s largest single shareholder, but has transitioned from CEO to Executive Chairman. Stepping into the CEO role is Adelman, who has been with the company for more than nine years, spending much of that time as President. While Go Daddy has the resources to expand in different ways, not much else has changed, Adelman said.
“These firms invested because they like what they see,” he said. “They were excited about our operation. No one’s goal was to change. The goal was to be bigger, faster and stronger.”
Go Daddy is used to getting bigger, having experienced rapid growth en route to managing more than 52 million domains and 5 million web sites. But there may be changes in the way Go Daddy expands.
In its 15-year history, Go Daddy has made just two acquisitions. In 2004 it bought ValiCert, which allowed Go Daddy to become an SSL certificate authority. Then in 2007 it acquired the remnants of RegisterFly after management turmoil left many of the registrar’s customers unable to manage their domains.
“We don’t have a long history of acquisitions,” said Adelman. “Obviously, these guys have lots of experience in acquisitions. If we wanted to acquire a technology we liked, that experience would be helpful. . If we wanted to do acquisitions, we have people who know this field.”