The elite club of tech billionaires is about to get another member. Bob Parsons, founder and leader of domain registrar GoDaddy.com, has put his baby on the auction block for $1 billion or more, according to The Wall Street Journal. Since he's the sole owner of the business today, a deal like that will make him a very rich man.
Private equity firms are seen as prime candidates to buy GoDaddy because it's a cash cow that doesn't need an exit strategy. While that makes sense, I can see a bidding war erupting between several established e-business players who could use the company's services:
(Nasdaq: GOOG)certainly has the cash required to make a deal, and a side business like this would take pressure off the online advertising arm as the provider of Big G's sales and profits. Moreover, Google is no stranger to providing nuts-and-bolts services to the world of online business, and GoDaddy would fit neatly in that fold.
(Nasdaq: AMZN)would be happy to fold GoDaddy into its burgeoning Web services operations, bringing that business one step closer to becoming more important than Amazon's e-tailing storefronts. GoDaddy's advisor on this proposed sale happens to be Frank Quattrone's Qatalyst Partners, which took Amazon public way back in the 1990s. Could that time-honored connection shorten the path between the two companies?
- If Cisco Systems
(Nasdaq: CSCO)doesn't drop a bid in the hat, I'll be flabbergasted. Domain registration services are a natural fit for Cisco's market-leading network hardware business, and the company is getting into software and services with increasing verve.
Those are my prime candidates. Dark horses would include other acquisition-happy technology conglomerates with an open-wallet policy toward securing growth opportunities: Oracle
GoDaddy filed for an IPO back in 2006 but pulled back because of shaky market conditions -- and the company didn't need the money. Whoever snags GoDaddy in this alternative endgame will get a proven cash machine with a dominant position in the always required business of managing Internet domain names.
Who will take GoDaddy home after the big dance? Discuss the options in the comments section below.