According to a press release I received this afternoon, Donuts has reached an agreement to acquire the Afilias registry business. Afilias operates a large number of domain name extensions, and the company also provides back-end services to operators of domain name extensions. Terms of the deal were not disclosed by either party, but the deal is expected to close in December of this year.
With hundreds of domain name extensions under its control, Donuts is already the largest operator of domain name extensions. The acquisition of Afilias makes sense for the privately held company, as it will bring more extensions under its roof and will also move it into the back-end management for ccTLD extensions like .ME and .VC. As far as I recall, I do not believe Donuts operates in the ccTLD space yet.
This is the second time this year that a registry operator has been acquired. As you may recall, GoDaddy acquired the Neustar registry business in April of 2020. I would not be surprised to see additional industry consolidation in the short term.
Here’s the press release I received:
Donuts Inc. to Acquire Afilias, Inc.
Acquisition amplifies Donuts’ commitment to security, stability and reliability in providing digital identity services across different registrar partners and registry services
BELLEVUE, WA Nov. 19, 2020
Donuts Inc., the global leader in next generation top-level domains (TLD) and digital identity, today announces that it has entered into an agreement to purchase Afilias, Inc. for an undisclosed sum. The transaction, which will not include Afilias’ mobile software and registrar businesses, is expected to close in Q4 2020, following successful completion of regulatory requirements.
The Afilias registry business features a prominent back-end registry platform, DNS solutions and cyber-security expertise. Afilias operates the authoritative directories and DNS for over 200 top-level domains. The Afilias registry business also includes an impressive array of top-level domains such as .info, .global, and .mobi, as well as country codes, dotBrands and other generic TLDs.
“The Afilias and Donuts teams share a commitment to security, stability and reliability,” Donuts CEO Akram Atallah commented. “This will only grow stronger as we implement the best technologies and services from each organization while maintaining seamless delivery to our registry and registrar partners as well as our end registrants.”
The Donuts and Afilias teams will continue to provide registrar partners the same access to the domain names and services they’ve had in the past. With a combined Donuts and Afilias partnership, cyber-security will be a top priority and registrants will have even more simplicity, consistency, efficiency and quality to help them secure their online identities.
Commenting on the acquisition, Afilias CEO, Hal Lubsen said, “We are thrilled to choose Donuts as the steward for Afilias’ next phase. As a proven leader and innovator, we know that the synergies delivered to our registry clients, registrars and employees will benefit the entire domain community.”
Donuts and Afilias have begun the required regulatory review processes and are cooperating fully to ensure that all requirements are met.
Afilias was advised by Moelis & Company LLC and Sidley Austin LLP while Donuts was advised by Kirkland & Ellis LLP.
Our 5L domain TLDnx.com just got more valuable.
The pandemic is an event. The ramifications will be wide and ongoing. This is yet another result of business reacting to pressure IMO.
Good news is Where there is activity there is opportunity. Many winners and losers yet to be revealed. All of us need to be watchful and selective.