Internet pioneer Web.com destined for new ownership

Less than two weeks after activist investor Starboard Value announced it purchased almost 10 percent of Jacksonville based Web.com Group Inc. (Nasdaq: WEB) the company reported to Historic City News this morning that they have agreed to be acquired by Siris Capital Group LLC.

The all-cash transaction, approximately $2 billion, represents a value of $25 per share. A special meeting of the company’s board will be held as soon as possible following a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The agreement must be unanimously approved.

“This transaction will provide shareholders with immediate and substantial cash value, while also providing us with a partner that shares in our commitment to customers and employees and can add strategic and operational value,” CEO and chairman David Brown said in a statement. “Based on our extensive engagement with Siris over the past two months and our prior discussions with them, we are confident that Siris’ support will enable Web.com to execute on its strategy and next phase of growth.”

Web.com has a more than 20-year legacy of leadership in the domain market. Their flagship property, NetworkSolutions, started as the exclusive registrar of the “.com” domain name. They retain strong brand equity and a growing portfolio of attractive, value-add online and marketing services.

Siris Capital executive partner, Robert Aquilina, indicated in a statement provided to media sources that his company’s plan is to sell more to existing customers. An agreement with Starboard Value, if presented, would likely change the way the company operates in a more visible way. Starboard is renowned for “major shakeups”. Siris, on the other hand, says they look forward “to nurturing Web.com’s core domain business”.

The Jacksonville web-services company may solicit alternative acquisition proposals from the date of the agreement until August 5th. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2018.

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