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GoDaddy in talks to buy massive registrar Host Europe – report

Kevin Murphy, November 25, 2016, Domain Registrars

GoDaddy is reportedly talking to Host Europe Group, one of Europe’s largest registrars, about an acquisition.

Reuters today reported that the deal, should it go ahead, could be worth as much as $1.8 billion.

GoDaddy has been favored over rival bids from United Internet (owner of United-Domains) and buyout firm Centerbridge, Reuters said.

HEG is the parent company for several registrar brands. Notably, it owns 123-reg and DomainMonster, two of the UK’s largest registrars.

123-reg had over 900,000 gTLD domains on its books at the last count. HEG overall says it manages over seven million domains.

The company was acquired by private equity group Cinven for £438 million ($545 million) in 2013.

It has 1.7 million customers and 1,300 employees spread across eight countries. It primarily operates in the UK and Germany.

HEG had 2015 revenue of €269.8 million ($286.3 million) and made a loss of €55.6 million ($59 million).

For GoDaddy, the acquisition is a chance to shift its revenue mix away from domains and more towards the more profitable hosting market, according to Reuters.

Chinese DDoS knocks 123-reg offline

Customers of major UK domain registrar 123-reg suffered a couple of hours of downtime this afternoon due to an apparently “massive” denial of service attack.

The attack targeted its DNS servers and originated in China, according to a report in The Register.

Users reported sites offline or with spotty availability, but the company managed to mitigate the effects of the attack fairly quickly. It’s now reporting mostly normal service.

123-reg, part of the Host Europe Group, has hundreds of thousands of domains under management in the gTLD space alone.

Domainmonster joins 123-reg stable

Mesh Digital, owner of the Domainmonster and Domainbox registrars, has been acquired by rival/partner Hosting Europe Group for an undisclosed sum.

Operating mainly in the UK and Germany, the buyer says it is the largest privately owned hosting company in Europe, already the owner of large registrars including 123-reg/Webfusion, a Mesh reseller.

“They’ve been a technology partner of ours for some time with the Domainbox product, so it’s the logical partner for us,” Mesh CEO Matt Mansell said.

“Our focus isn’t on hosting,” he added. “They’ll bring a good range of hosting and software-as-a-service products to our customers and we’ll bring good domain services to their customers.”

Mansell will join Host Europe as head of domain strategy.

The fact that new gTLDs are expected to launch next year was not a particular driver of the deal, he said.

With its new acquisition, Host Europe will have five million domains under management, according to the company.

Mesh, based in Godalming, UK (it’s 30 miles away and I’ve never heard of it either) has 15 employees and turnover of about $5 million, Mansell said.