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July 5, 2011 6:49 PM

Simpson Thacher, Wilson Sonsini Advise on Go Daddy Sale

Posted by Tom Huddleston Jr.

CORRECTION: 7/6/11, 10:00 a.m., The surname of Go Daddy's founder, Bob Parsons, was originally spelled "Parson." We regret the error.

The Go Daddy Group, provider of Web hosting, domain names, and racy Super Bowl ads, announced Friday that it will sell a controlling stake to a group led by KKR & Co., Silver Lake Partners, and Technology Crossover Ventures.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Bloomberg said the deal valued the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Go Daddy at $2.25 billion.

Go Daddy, which manages more than 48 million domain names and has 9.3 million customers, said in its announcement that the investment will allow it to expand its international presence as well as its cloud-based services. Bob Parsons, who founded Go Daddy in 1997, will stay on as executive chairman and will hold a minority stake in the company, according to Bloomberg.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, which has a long-standing relationship with KKR, is counsel to all three buyers. The firm's team is led by New York corporate partner William Dougherty. Also advising is credit partner James Cross, benefits partner Andrea Wahlquist, intellectual property partner Lori Lesser, tax partner Steven Todrys, and antitrust partner Joseph Tringali. 

KKR’s general counsel, David Sorkin, is a former Simpson Thacher partner who represented KKR in a number of matters before assuming his current role in 2007. Already this year, the firm has advised KKR on a slew of transactions, including the $2.4 billion purchase of Pfizer's Capsugel division in April and the $3.5 billion sale of Texas shale assets to Marathon Oil at the beginning of June. 

Silver Lake, another member in the investor group, is known for investing in the technology industry. The private equity firm led a group of investors that sold Skype Global to Microsoft, in May, for $8.5 billion, as we reported at the time. Sullivan & Cromwell advised Silver Lake on that transaction.

Go Daddy hired Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati as counsel, with a team that is led by M&A partner Michael Ringler and includes firm vice-chairman Jeffrey Saper. Also on the deal for Wilson Sonsini is M&A partner Rezwan Pavri; finance partners John Fore, Michael Russell, and Kathleen Rothman; benefits partners Ralph Barry and David Thomas; intellectual property partner Sara Harrington; employment partner Kristen Dumont; tax partners Ivan Humphreys and Gregory Broome; antitrust partner Scott Sher; and environmental special counsel James McCann and Kimberly McMorrow.

Go Daddy's  general counsel is Christine Jones.

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