Will GoDaddy.com’s sale to KKR cutoff racing sponsorship?

UPDATE #3 According to Internet report Saturday, the sale of GoDaddy.com to investment firm KKR won’t affect the company’s sponsorship of Izod IndyCar and NASCAR driver Danica Patrick. The well-known Internet domain Web site was sold Friday to KKR and two other firms for $2.25 billion.

GoDaddy sponsors Patrick’s full-season IndyCar effort at Andretti Autosport and her part-time effort with J. R. Motorsports in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series. It’s widely thought Patrick will leave IndyCar (except perhaps for the Indy 500) next year and move full-time to the Nationwide series. It’s thought she’ll do one full Nationwide season before going to Sprint Cup in 2013.

Bob Parsons, CEO and founder of GoDaddy.com, wasn’t at Daytona International Speedway for Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race. Patrick did well in Friday night’s 250-mile Nationwide race, leading five times for 13 laps. She was leading in the final laps before a last-lap crash relegated her to 10th behind two Cup starts and seven more-experienced Nationwide regulars.

Elizabeth Driscoll, vice president of public relations for GoDaddy, said the company will continue to support Patrick’s racing.

“Bob’s been very vocal about how well Danica has fit into GoDaddy’s marketing efforts," she said. “And the new investors have specifically said they don't want to mess with GoDaddy’s secret sauce–at least two of the magic ingredients, our customer service and marketing. We are very much looking forward to the future, on the Internet and on the race track." AutoWeek

07/02/11 It is now official – GoDaddy.com has been sold. See related story. JR Motorsports president Kelley Earnhardt says she “was not privy" to the GoDaddy deal but hopes the sponsor will continue to support the team.

“I would assume that the buyers are very aware of GoDaddy’s sponsorship of Danica and what it's done for their business," Earnhardt said. “So I would hope they continue the relationship with JRM and Danica should Danica drive for JRM next year."

06/30/11 Danica Patrick isn’t sure how the possible sale of GoDaddy.com could impact her racing career and once again said she has not made a decision whether to go full-time NASCAR racing in 2012.
The IndyCar Series driver, who ran a partial Nationwide Series schedule in 2010 and 2011 for JR Motorsports, has options available to continue to run a split schedule in 2012 but also could opt to make a permanent move to stock cars.

“I'm racing in NASCAR and I've not made anyone wonder whether or not I like it," Patrick said Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. “Other than that, these things, as I've said from the beginning of the year, are complicated and they take time.

“Whether I'm coming here or not has yet to be signed, sealed and delivered. And I might not be. Only time will tell."

On potential hurdle for Patrick’s management team at IMG could be the potential sale of her sponsor, GoDaddy.com.

The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that three investors were close to completing the purchase of the Internet domain company. Current owner Bob Parsons, who has championed Patrick’s racing career, likely would remain CEO if the sale happens, the newspaper reported.

GoDaddy currently sponsors Patrick in both series and is in the final year of a two-year Cup sponsorship agreement with Mark Martin. GoDaddy is expected to focus its racing efforts solely on Patrick beginning next year.

“I haven't heard from [Parsons] about it," Patrick said. “I don't know if that means it's being done or if it's not going to be done. Perhaps they don't know that answer either. So I guess that’s why perhaps it's still in speculation mode as opposed to reported true or reported false.

“Will that affect my relationship with them? I don’t know. It might not change anything; it might change everything. I'm not really sure. But like I said, right now for me it's just status quo with them. I’m just trying to do a good job for them and represent them well."

Patrick, who has the highest finish for a female in a NASCAR national stock-car touring event with a fourth at Las Vegas, is competing in her sixth Nationwide race of the year this weekend at Daytona. She has six races left this year, with just one a month until the end of the IndyCar Series season. She will compete in the final three Nationwide races of the season.

When will she decide if she does every Nationwide race in 2012?

“That timeline on my side of things, I'm really not sure," Patrick said. “All I know is that I just am told [by my management that] I have a job to do in the car and you do your job and we'll do our job and they fill me in from time to time. But it's still only July.

"It comes down to my gut and my desire and where I feel like I'll be the happiest and where I feel like I'll be able to have the most success. And then from those thoughts, my team explores the options. But it always starts with where I want to be." Scenedaily.com

06/24/11 Private-equity firms KKR & Co. and Silver Lake Partners, along with a third investor, are nearing a deal to buy GoDaddy Group Inc., a closely-held company that registers Internet domain names, for between $2 billion and $2.5 billion, people familiar with the matter said.

An announcement of the sale could come as early as next week, although a deal hasn't been signed yet and the people cautioned that an agreement may not be reached. Private equity and venture capital firm Technology Crossover Ventures is also a minority investor in the proposed deal for Scottsdale, Ariz.-based GoDaddy, one of the people familiar with the matter said.

The Wall Street Journal reported in September that the company had hired boutique investment bank Qatalyst Partners to shop the company to potential buyers.

GoDaddy.com, the company's flagship web property, is the world's largest registrar of domain names. The site also sells e-commerce, security and other services to people and businesses looking to manage their online presence. Customers pay GoDaddy monthly fees, which brings the company steady cash flow—an attraction for buyout firms.

GoDaddy was founded in 1997 by Bob Parsons, who continues to be the company's owner and chief executive. It is known for its edgy advertising, including Super Bowl commercials and ads featuring different "Go Daddy Girls" including race car driver Danica Patrick. Mr. Parsons would continue as CEO, one of the people familiar said. WSJ.com

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