Donuts shared some major news this morning, announcing that Abry Partners has acquired a majority stake in the company. Abry is a private equity firm based in Boston, Massachusetts. The terms of the deal were not made public, and because Donuts is a privately owned business, I do not anticipate that the terms will become public in the future.
I briefly looked at the Abry website, and it looks like this is the PE firm’s first investment in a domain industry company. Perhaps notably, one of the partners at Abry (since 2016) is Fadi Chehadé, the former CEO of ICANN. The press release did not mention if Mr. Chehadé will be playing a role at Donuts. I would anticipate that his high level domain industry experience and connections will be helpful.
Earlier this morning, I exchanged emails with Judith McGarry, VP Marketing & Communications at Donuts, and she let me know that there are no staffing (or other) changes to note. Paul Stahura, Co-Founder and Executive Chair of Donuts, shared the news publicly this morning on Facebook:
With Abry’s majority acquisition in Donuts, company founders and investors were likely able to see a return on their investments. Since its founding in 2010, Donuts has reportedly raised $282.4 million, according to Crunchbase. Some of the company’s investors reportedly include Emergence Capital, Austin Ventures, TL Partners, Generation Partners, and several others. It is unclear which firms (if any) have retained their stake in the company post-acquisition.
So is it good news or bad news?
“In June 2012 he was picked to head the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Among his first duties was overseeing the TLD Registry expansion program.”
So the guy that was responsible for the horrible TLD expansion program, leaves ICANN and becomes a senior advisor at a PE company that now takes a majority stakes in one of the companies that benefitted most from said TLD expansion… Special counsel Mueller on the case.
Ha, right on Richard. A den of investment morons if you ask me. Seems to me that their move is even more foolhardy that those who actually try to utilize one of the stupid new gtlds. So for those reasons, I am out.
The opacity is interesting, and Jeff is interesting as well. Depending on the details he may be on to something. Definitely correct about end users. Short.
Hard to know what this really means with the financial details.