GoDaddy web domain company has plans for IPO

GoDaddy, the domain name registration company known for its risqué ads, plans to sell shares to investors in an initial public offering.

Company needs to pay down debt after buyout by private equity firms

Domain name registrar GoDaddy wants to tap financial markets this year with an IPO. (CBC)

GoDaddy, the domain name registration company known for its risqué ads, plans to sell shares to investors in an initial public offering.

A filing with the Securities Exchange Commission on Monday shows the company could raise up to $100 million and will use it to pay down debt and rebuild. The figure is likely a placeholder for the initial filing rather than a figure the company could raise from the market.

The number of shares to be offered and the price range have yet to be determined, the filing said.

GoDaddy gets most of its revenue from the sale of domain names but also offers services such as website building, hosting and security. The company had 57 million domains under management as of Dec. 31.

GoDaddy reported $1.1 billion US in revenue for 2013, a 24 per cent increase from the previous year, but it continued to lose money for the third year running. It lost $199 million in 2013, down from $279 million in 2012.

The company is recovering from a crisis in 2011, when it became mired in debt.

In that year, three private equity firms — KKR & Co., Silver Lake Partners and Technology Crossover Ventures — bought a major stake in the company for $2.25 billion. Part of the IPO will pay off debt to the venture partners.

Founder Bob Parsons, who stepped down as CEO of GoDaddy in 2011, is to leave his current position as executive chairman, though he'll remain on the board.

 Parsons — a controversial figure who's taken heat for shooting elephants and the company's sexually-themed SuperBowl commercials — still owns 28 per cent of the company.

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