Investors love IPOs. And why not? We believe that buying in early will lead to untold riches, because frankly, sometimes it does. Unfortunately, GoDaddy isn't likely to be that sort of multibagger in the making. Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL)(NASDAQ:GOOG) just made sure of that.
Earlier this week, the search star unveiled a beta release of Google Domains, a registration service that essentially offers everything that GoDaddy does, but for an all-inclusive $12 a year. I recently paid $10 for a discounted domain from GoDaddy, which also sells email for $4.99 per month and privacy services for $7.99 a year.
While I didn't pay up for either, surely these and other add-ons factored into the $104 in revenue per user GoDaddy averaged last year. (That figure climbed to $105 in the first quarter.) Google's discounting now puts that premium at risk, which is problematic when you look at the financial statements.
GoDaddy is burdened with more than $1 billion in debt, versus $133 million in cash and short-term investments. The company has also reported operating losses in each of the past three fiscal years and over the trailing 12 months. If it weren't for a bounty of free cash flow -- more than $100 million last year and over the trailing 12 months -- GoDaddy would be facing bankruptcy rather than an IPO.
The offering couldn't come at a better time. Initial plans call for raising at least $100 million in proceeds, while IPO tracker Renaissance Capital estimates that the unveiling could raise as much as $750 million. Either way, it'll be a needed cash infusion once the deal closes.
Should you join the party? I don't think so. GoDaddy's advantage is scale, serving more than 57 million domains and 12 million unique customers. Google has a great deal more customers, plus tuck-in apps for the sorts of small businesses that would be in the market for a domain. I can't think of an easy way for GoDaddy to combat that and still grow revenue and profits.
Now it's your turn to weigh in. Does Google Domains change your opinion of the GoDaddy IPO? Why or why not? Leave your take in the comments box below.