UK Domain Registration and Hosting Company Host Europe set to be sold for hundreds of millions pounds / dollars
News of the sale hasn’t been confirmed but Key103.co.uk is quoting a sale of the recently formed business for around £400 million pounds that’s about $620,000,000 Million US Dollars.
Host Europe might not be a well know company but here is some information about them and there company timeline.
Webfusion (formally GX Networks) is a website hosting, email and domain name registrar company. It began by offering internet services to corporations and began trading under the GX name in 1997. It believed that it had developed the first transatlantic IP backbone running native ATM. Webfusion originally started out with major Network Access Points in Washington and San Jose in the US, London’s LINX and Stockholm in Europe.
With various changes of ownership, the company’s name has changed several times, taking on the Pipex name following its takeover in 2003. Following restructuring in 2009, the company trades under the Webfusion name in the UK, as part of the Host Europe Group.
Through a series of acquisitions and (de)mergers GX Networks (and subsequently Webfusion) is known through various brands. Since 2009, the company has consoldidated its trading under the 123-reg (UK domain names), Heart Internet (UK hosting), Host Europe (German hosting), Webfusion (UK, USA and Spanish hosting), RedCoruna (Spanish hosting), Mesh Digital and Domainbox (international domain names).
- April 1997 – Internet Technology Group (ITG) announces the acquisition of Xara Networks Limited in a deal worth £2.65 million.
- September 1997 – Xara Networks, a subsidiary of Internet Technology Group (ITG), relaunched as GX Networks.
- January 2000 – GX Networks became part of Concentric Network.
- September 2000 – Concentric Network merged with Nextlink to form XO Communications.
- 2001 – The UK arm of XO Europe was sold off to form Transigent Limited.
- September 2002 – Zipcom plc acquires Transigent Limited (formerly XO Limited), the parent company of GX Networks in a deal worth approximately £10m
- October 2002 – Zipcom plc acquired the entire share capital of Transigent Limited the parent company of GX Networks.
- March 2003 – Zipcom plc to changed its name to GX Networks plc.
- July 2003 – GX Networks acquires two more telecoms businesses XTML Limited (“XTML”) and Compulink Information eXchange Limited (“CIX”), which were previously part of the Telenor Business Holdings UK Limited Group (“Telenor”).
- September 2003 – GX Networks buy Firstnet Ltd (owners of Liberty Broadband aka Tele2 UK)
- October 2003 – GX Networks plc became Pipex Communications plc to maintain the PIPEX brand after a buy out for £55m.
- 2006 – Pipex Communications acquires Supanetwork, better known as SupaNames.
- March 2008 – Due to Pipex Broadband being sold to Tiscali (now Talk Talk), the company known as Pipex Communications UK Ltd reverts back to GX Networks Ltd.
- October 2009 – Further internal re-structuring by Oakley Capital (Owner of GX Networks) after selling Vialtus Solutions and further consolidate the brands of GX Networks by renaming the company Host Europe Group, and the UK business after the hosting branch of the firm Webfusion Limited
- March 2010 – Host Europe Group acquires Virtualization firm Vanager
- September 2010 – Host Europe Group acquired by Montagu Private Equity
- March 2011 – Host Europe Group acquires Dynamic-net.ch AG
- August 2011 – Host Europe Group acquires Heart Internet Ltd
- January 2012 – Host Europe Group acquires Spanish web host RedCoruna
- May 2012 – Dynamic-net rebrands to Host Europe Suisse
- May 2012 – Host Europe Group acquires Mesh Digital Ltd
Here is the full story below.
“I have learnt that Montagu Private Equity, a private equity firm, has appointed investment bankers at UBS to oversee a strategic review of Host Europe Group with a view to selling it later this year.
Host Europe is a titan of Britain’s internet industry. It is responsible for the registration of roughly one-quarter of all .co.uk domain names, and numbers more than 1m UK-based small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) among its clients.
Montagu acquired the business in October 2010 from Oakley Capital, another private equity firm, for more than £220m. Insiders said today that Montagu, which sold the hair products brand GHD last weekend in a £300m deal, would make a handsome return on its investment in Host Europe.
People familiar with Montagu’s plans said that it was not seeking a rapid sale of the dotcom services provider. UBS had been hired to undertake a ‘market-testing’ exercise that would involve approaching potential industry buyers of the company before beginning a formal auction, they said.
Host Europe provides an array of web-hosting services, including domain name registration, building websites and cloud computing.
If an eventual sale does achieve a price-tag of £400m or more, it would mean that Host Europe’s value will have more than trebled in the space of just five years. Oakley paid £128m to buy it from Pipex, the telecoms group formerly run by Oakley founder Peter Dubens, one of Britain’s most successful technology investors.
An industry analyst suggested that companies including TalkTalk, the broadband and technology company, would be among the potential buyers of Host Europe.
The company was formed from the combination of Host Europe and Webfusion, which owned 123-reg.co.uk, one of the most prominent domain name registration brands in the UK.
Revenues at Host Europe have soared as SMEs have turned to the internet to showcase their products and services. The company’s business is split roughly equally between the UK and German markets.
A Montagu spokesman declined to comment.”