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Bob Parsons worth $1.5bn, ranked 293 on Forbes 400

Kevin Murphy, September 22, 2011, Domain Registrars

Go Daddy executive chairman Bob Parsons is the 293rd wealthiest person in America, with a self-made fortune of $1.5 billion, according to the latest Forbes 400 rich list.

In its annual league table, published yesterday, Forbes ranks Parsons tied with tech investors such as LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Groupon co-founder Evan Lefkofsky.

Parsons, Go Daddy’s founder and erstwhile CEO, is a debutant on the list following his sale of a majority stake in the company to a group of institutional investors.

KKR, Silver Lake and Technology Crossover Ventures collectively bought out more than half of Go Daddy in a deal announced in July, reportedly worth north of $2 billion.

Go Daddy’s Bob Parsons set for Forbes rich list

Go Daddy founder and executive chairman Bob Parsons is likely to be included on the next Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans, according to Forbes reporter Luisa Kroll.

Kroll estimates that Parsons will be worth at least $1.5 billion following the closure of its recent reported $2.25 billion investment with KKR, Silver Lake and Technology Crossover Partners.

That valuation would place Parsons at #269 on the current Forbes rich list.

He would rank higher than former AOL CEO Steve Case, Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, former eBay chief Meg Whitman and Yahoo’s Jerry Yang.

Parsons, whose public image is largely that of a regular guy fulfilling the American dream, reluctantly admitted that he may belong on the list, although he does not consider himself a billionaire, Kroll blogged.

“I am going to give most of the proceeds to a foundation,” Parsons reportedly said.

Go Daddy sale to make Bob Parsons a billionaire

Number one domain name registrar Go Daddy is in talks to sell out to private investors in a deal worth north of $2 billion, according to reports.

The deal, first reported by the New York Post and subsequently confirmed by other newspapers, would see the company acquired by a group led by Silver Lake Partners and KKR & Co for between $1 billion and $2.5 billion.

An official announcement could come as soon as Tuesday, these reports said.

Go Daddy has been subject of exit strategy rumors before, notably late last year, and it came to nothing, but this time it’s looking like a done deal.

The company also attempted to go public in 2006, but its IPO was yanked due to poor market conditions and other reasons.

In fact, IPOs appear to be the exception rather than the rule when it comes to domain name registrars.

Register.com did go public, but it didn’t work out too well and it was reprivatized. Network Solutions also wound up in private hands. Demand Media listed last year, but eNom is not its core business.

For many, Go Daddy is synonymous with its flamboyant chief executive, Bob Parsons, who founded the company in 1997 with the proceeds of a previous technology company sale.

As the company’s primary shareholder, the sale will likely make him a billionaire. The question is: as a serial entrepreneur, how long will Parsons stick around?

He’s a pretty good businessman, to be sure, but he’s never struck me as somebody who’s particularly passionate about the domain name industry.

I expect he’ll stick around for a while to groom his successor after the sale closes – it may even be a condition of the deal – but I’d be surprised if he’s still at the helm two years from now.

I understand there are also a number of senior Go Daddy executives with share options; we’re likely to see these guys on the receiving end of windfalls if the deal goes through.

I’ll also be interested to see how new ownership will affect Go Daddy’s philanthropic work.

The company does not like to talk about it (more than three or four times a month) but it does contribute a fair bit to charitable projects.

I don’t think new management will attempt any kind of drastic shake-up of Go Daddy’s business model, such as raising prices, in the short term.

The company has a winning formula that is not in need of fixing right now.

Go Daddy checkout charity raises $20k for Haiti

Go Daddy’s quietly launched “Round Up For Charity” scheme has so far raised over $20,000 for the Hope For Haiti appeal, according to the company.

The month-old initiative gives the domain name registrar’s customers the option to round their bill up to the nearest dollar when they buy a product on its web site. The proceeds go to the charity.

With a new .com costing $12.17, that works out to a $0.83 donation every time somebody checks the box. With that in mind, $20,000 works out to the equivalent of about 24,000 registrations.

I was expecting more, given how much business passes though Go Daddy’s site every day, but I guess not all donations will be as high as $0.83, and not everybody will check the box (there really is no excuse for not checking the box).

It’s a pretty cool idea, a good example of how a company can leverage scale to do some good in the world. Haiti could use all the help it can get at the moment.

Company CEO Bob Parsons has also promised to match his customers’ donations dollar for dollar, according to a press release. He’s also uploaded a video of a recent trip to Haiti here.

Namecheap poaches 20,000 domains from Go Daddy

A protest promo launched after Go Daddy CEO Bob Parsons came under fire for shooting an elephant appears to have netted Namecheap about 20,000 domain name transfers.

The company tweeted from its official account last night: “Thank you Namecheap customers, new and old! We have raised $20,433 to savetheelephants.org. We appreciate your support!”

Given Namecheap had offered to donate $1 for every domain transferred using a special $4.99 coupon code, it looks like it received 20,433 transfers over the last week.

Parsons won’t lose any sleep over this. Go Daddy’s domains under management ticks up by the same amount every five hours.

It may be a more significant amount for Namecheap, which says it has over a million domains under its belt.

UPDATE: As Adam Strong notes in the comments, the 20,000 domains did not necessarily all come from Go Daddy, as the offer was open to anybody.

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