GoDaddy Goes Big

GoDaddy is well-known for making waves with provocative, attention-getting ads, most notably during the Super Bowl. But today, it’s making headlines for a less controversial reason.

On Wednesday night, GoDaddy – the largest provider of Web hosting services, including domain names and website building – debuted its IPO — the 63rd initial public offering from the Internet Software and Services space to launch since 2001 (and the first of 2015). It priced above its range to raise $460 million, which ballooned to $520M after exercising its overallotment – arriving as the space’s 8th largest debut and 2015’s 4th largest to date. (Performance wise, the IPO had a 30.8% first-day pop, also the fourth-highest YTD, behind Box (65.9%), Spark Therapeutics (+117.4%), and Shake Shack (+118.6%)).

This marks the end of a long road for the company, which withdrew its first attempt at an IPO back in August of 2006, on account of volatile market conditions (though the company was then known as The Go Daddy Group, Inc.). With the onset of the global Financial Crisis, those conditions didn’t immediately improve: 2008 saw not a single internet IPO hit the market, and only 30 U.S. IPOs priced all year. Which should put 2015’s numbers in perspective.

GoDaddy marks only the third Tech IPO of the year, after Box in January ($175M) and MaxPoint Interactive ($74.8M) in early March), a sharp drop from Q1 2014’s twelve Tech IPOs, but one that’s in line with 2015’s overall pace, which has (understandably) fallen off from a scorching 2014. Only one other internet issuer sits in the publicly-registered IPO pipeline at the moment; online shopping solutions start-up Shopify is tentatively on pace to raise $100M.

But let’s not rain on their parade. Excluding Facebook, whose mammoth $16.0B 2012 offering is an outlier, the average internet IPO has raised a respectable $248.9M in that timeframe, and GoDaddy well-exceeded that, even trumping LinkedIn, which landed with $406 million in May 2011.

With an attention-getting IPO like this, who needs Super Bowl ads?