Godaddy Inc (GDDY) Debuts On New York Stock Exchange

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Godaddy Inc (NYSE:GDDY) starts trading today using the stock ticker symbol GDDY, and management hoped to raise $460 million in the initial public offering. The company put up 23 million shares for sale at $20 each. That’s a slight increase from the previously planned numbers of 22 million shares and between $17 and $19 per share.

Godaddy looks to expand investor views

The web domain seller said it has approximately 13 million customers and manages 59 million domains, giving it a 21% share of the global web domain market. In 2014, Godaddy saw a 23% increase in revenue, which increased to $1.4 billion. The company posted net losses of $143.3 million during the year.

Michael de la Merced of The New York Times reports that Godaddy Inc (NYSE:GDDY) is now marketing itself as more than a seller of web domains. The company became known for the racy ads it ran during the Super Bowl, but it has now scaled back the use of scantily clad women in its commercials. Those commercials were typically aired only during the Super Bowl and never made it to regular broadcast TV.

Investors liking what they hear

Investors so far seem to like Godaddy’s new message, as it raised $440 million, just a little shy of its goal, late last night, according to The New York Times, which cites a source “close to the transaction. With this price, Godaddy Inc (NYSE:GDDY)’s market valuation is a little over $3 billion.

The company now wants investors and potential customers to see it as a guide for small businesses trying to set up an online presence. Bob Parsons founded Godaddy in 1997, and it went on to become the biggest registrar for internet domains.

Godaddy seeks to rebrand

A group of private-equity firms purchased the company from Parsons, beginning work to transition the marketing strategy and business model away from the racy Super Bowl ads. However, they haven’t completely pulled the company’s marketing strategy out of controversy as this year Godaddy ran a commercial showing a puppy being sold. The ad was a play off another campaign.

Management has indicated that the IPO is part of their rebranding campaign rather than a way of raising funds. One of the changes is the expansion of its presence in Silicon Valley and Cambridge, Mass., two areas that are more focused on technology than Godaddy’s hometown of Scottsdale, Ariz.

The company continues to see its biggest chunk of revenue from web domain registrations, which made up over 50% of last year’s revenue. However, it also seeks to help businesses establish online presences. One of the parts of this strategy is reselling Microsoft Office 365, and Godaddy is now one of the largest resellers of the cloud-based productivity software suite.

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