GoDaddy, the online domain registrar known for its racy television commercials, is preparing to file for an initial public offering, a person briefed on the matter said Friday.
Preparations for an IPO are just getting started, with the company expected to begin interviewing banks in the coming weeks. But the process could pave the way for an eventual exit by GoDaddy’s owners, private equity firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Silver Lake, and a smaller firm, Technology Crossover Ventures.
That group acquired GoDaddy for $2.25 billion in 2011. Since then, GoDaddy has worked to expand its offerings for small- and medium-size businesses, and increase its revenues from Web hosting. It is the largest domain name registrar in the world.
At the same time, it has recently begun to reform its public image. One of its most recent Super Bowl commercials did not feature scantily clad women, but a plug for a new small-business tool.
Bob Parsons, the founder of GoDaddy, who gained notoriety for shooting an elephant in Zimbabwe, remains chairman of the company. The new owners installed a new chief executive, Blake Irving, in 2012.
A person briefed on the matter said no banks were yet in the lead for the mandate, and no target had been set for the company’s public valuation. The company also has not decided on the amount of money it will try to raise.
Should it go public, GoDaddy will join a wave of high-profile companies going public in the healthiest IPO market since the financial crisis. Technology companies such as GoPro, Box and King are all working on offerings, as are investment bank Moelis and large Asia-based Web firm Alibaba.
All of the companies involved in GoDaddy declined to comment. The Wall Street Journal first reported on the company’s preparations.