Eastside domain-name managers combine in $213 million deal – The Seattle Times

Two local companies in the business of managing newly released website-domain names are merging.

Bellevue-based Donuts, which owns top-level domains such as .photography and .restaurant, is buying Kirkland’s Rightside for about $213 million.

The move comes less than a year after publicly traded Rightside rejected an earlier bid from Donuts to buy its registry business. It’s been a year of changes for Rightside, said Donuts CEO Bruce Jaffe.

Rightside sold its eNom business for $83.5 million in January, letting go of a large part of its “registrar” business, which allows people to register websites such as janedoe.social.

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Donuts focuses on the “registry” side of the business — buying the top-level domains (TLDs), then allowing other companies such as GoDaddy to register websites using them.

“We’ve been working together for years as partners,” Jaffe said. “Combining became a natural next step.”

Donuts has about 40 employees, and Rightside has about 135. The two companies are in the “planning stages” of what the combined business will look like, Jaffe said.

Donuts, a privately held company, will buy Rightside for $10.60 a share, a nearly 9 percent increase over Rightside’s Tuesday closing price.

Shares of Rightside jumped 10.3 percent Wednesday to $10.75

The deal is expected to close before the end of the year.

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