After canceling a proposed IPO in 2006 and reportedly being on the block since late last year, The Go Daddy Group is now selling an undisclosed stake to private equity firms KKR, Silver Lake Partners and Technology Crossover Ventures. The deal is believed to be among the largest private equity investments in the Internet infrastructure industry, and continues an emerging trend of buyout shops acquiring mass-market hosters and repositioning them toward higher-end services.
Reportedly worth $2.25bn, the transaction lands squarely in second place among the largest PE investments in this industry. We note that the first-place prize goes to a group led by Silver Lake (and including KKR) in the $11.3bn take private of SunGard Data Systems in 2005. Silver Lake’s interest in the industry is increasing – the Go Daddy deal comes less than a year after the firm took a minority stake in a similar hoster, Brazil-based LocaWeb.
We expect that KKR and the other investors will focus on international expansion as well as investment in cloud services. Silver Lake’s stake in LocaWeb could be particularly useful. The Latin American hosting and colocation markets are seeing increasing interest (heavyweights Savvis and Equinix have each announced plans for the region). We wouldn’t be surprised if LocaWeb and Go Daddy ultimately became partners. Further, we’ve noticed that PE firms tend to refocus their mass-market hosting companies on more specialized, higher-end cloud services. LocaWeb’s cloud services could provide additional expansion opportunities for Go Daddy, which recently began a limited launch of its own cloud product. We’ll have a full report on the Go Daddy deal in tonight’s Daily 451.
-Contact Thomas Rasmussen
With reports indicating that IBM has pulled its multibillion-dollar offer for Sun Microsystems, the second-largest deal of the year so far is the $2.9bn all-equity purchase of Metavante by Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) announced in early April. (Yesterday, Express Scripts announced that it will fork over $4.7bn for WellPoint’s NextRx subsidiaries.) In fact, we recently noted that the first quarter closed without a single transaction worth more than $1bn. It was the first time a quarter passed without a 10-digit deal since we began keeping records in January 2002. This transaction consolidates two active acquirers. Metavante and FIS have together inked more than 30 purchases over the past five years: FIS has completed 18 deals worth north of $7bn (excluding this pickup), while Metavante has closed 15 to the tune of about $1.4bn.
The combined FIS and Metavante will have revenue of $5.1bn, about $300m in cash after the transaction closes, and free cash flow of about $700m. However, though the management of the new company outlined its healthy cash flow as means for making further acquisitions, we don’t expect them to step immediately back into the market as the giants work on integrating the blockbuster deal. (We would note that both FIS and Metavante were out of the market in 2008.) Instead, we expect near-term consolidation to likely come from the firm’s two remaining large competitors Fiserv and First Data Corp, which Kohlberg Kravis Roberts took private for $30bn two years ago. Additionally, we could see Oracle and IBM using their vast cash reserves to buy their way into this sector. In fact, FIS and Metavante said in their conference call discussing their planned transaction that one of the reasons they were getting together was to stave off the expected competition from Oracle and Big Blue. So who might be of interest to any of these buyers? We suspect smaller players such as Jack Henry & Associates or even payments competitors TeleCommunication Systems and S1 Corp could well become targets.
Financial IT M&A by the now three largest buyers since 2002
|Number of deals
|Total deal value
|First Data Corp
Source: The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase