According to a press release I received a moment ago (and published below), MMX has acquired ICM Registry, the company that operates several adult related domain extensions. ICM Registry extensions include .XXX, .Sex, .Porn, and .Adult.
The press releases stated that the deal involves “a combination of cash and shares,” although the dollar amount was not revealed in the press release I received. The Palm Beach Post published an article about the deal and wrote that the “British firm Minds + Machines Group paid $10 million in cash for the company.”
I am not sure if the total value of the deal is $10 million or if that is just the cash portion as the Post reported. I will connect with the ICM Registry to try and clear this up.
Update: ICM CEO Stuart Lawley clarified this discrepancy for me. He reported the total value of the deal is $41 million, with $10 million in cash and $31 million worth of stock at yesterdays’s closing price. Here’s a link to the official stock market announcement.
On May 2, Domain Incite reported that “New gTLD registry MMX could announce plans to be acquired as early as this week.” I am not sure if this means MMX will not be acquired or if there could be a subsequent announcement coming.
Here’s the press release that was sent to me by the ICM Registry:
Minds and Machines (MMX) Acquires ICM Registry LLC
Cash and Stock deal adds ICM’s 4 niche, adult TLDs to the MMX portfolio
4 May 2018 – Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
It was announced today that Minds and Machines (MMX), the respected Top Level Domain (TLD) portfolio operator that is listed on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market under symbol MMX.L, has acquired the entire ownership of ICM Registry LLC for a combination of cash and shares.
There has been increasing consolidation in the TLD operator market and ICM’s stable of highly profitable domain extensions attracted several offers from rival portfolio operators.
Stuart Lawley, the outgoing CEO of ICM, said, “Having successfully built and sold several technology businesses throughout my career in other consolidating markets, it became clear over the last few years that ICM’s business, shareholders and employees would be best served as part of a larger group with the corresponding resources, vision, opportunities and obvious cost savings that would bring.”
ICM’s 4 TLDs will be added to MMX’s portfolio of 28 extensions, which currently have over 1.4 M registrations.
With the exception of Lawley who is leaving to pursue blockhain based Age Verification business opportunities with his new business AVSecure.com, the rest of the existing management team will remain with ICM. Back end registry services will continue to be provided by Afilias, who has been a shareholder in ICM and will now become a sizeable and welcome shareholder in MMX going forwards.
Lawley went on to say, “I strongly believe ICM’s shareholders, customers and employees will be well served by this acquisition; MMX has a very dynamic management team. We received 4 offers in total for the business, some all cash and others a mixture of cash and stock. After lengthy, detailed negotiations and due diligence with the interested parties, the arrangement with MMX was clearly the best fit.”
As a sign of ICM’s confidence in MMX, post completion Stuart Lawley will become the largest shareholder in MMX with a holding just over 15% and as part of the transaction, the 5 remaining senior managers of ICM will all have meaningful stock holdings in MMX.
Lawley said, “We felt it was appropriate to reward all of our staff for their loyal, sterling and diligent efforts over the last 8 years and in particular the senior management team who will now become shareholders in MMX; their long term interests are perfectly aligned with the selling ICM shareholders and existing MMX holders. As they forge their new careers within the greater MMX group, they will hopefully be able to share more directly in the results of the fruits of their labor.”
He continued, “As part of our detailed due diligence on our potential suitors we were particularly impressed with both Toby Hall (CEO) and Michael Salazar (COO/CFO) who struck us as competent business managers in possession of the drive and vision needed to develop and execute a long term growth strategy in the top-level domain sector. We believe they are the ideal stewards for the ICM properties going forwards. With our specialty TLDs there goes great reward but also great responsibility, so we had to be very careful about who we chose to carry that torch going forward. I am delighted it will be MMX.”