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GoDaddy Reportedly Near $2.5 Billion Deal to Sell Itself

A group of private-equity firms is reportedly teaming up to buy GoDaddy, the world's largest registrar of domain names. KKR & Co., Silver Lake Partners, and Technology Crossover Ventures are nearing a deal to buy GoDaddy Group for between $2 billion and $2.5 billion, the Wall Street Journal is reporting, citing people with knowledge of the proceedings.

Though GoDaddy, which was founded in 1997, is best known in the general public as the sponsor of risque ads, it has a solid business as a domain registrar, a Web site hosting service, and a business-consulting practice to help customers find Web solutions for their operations. In September, the Wall Street Journal reported that the GoDaddy Group tallied revenue of between $750 million and $800 million in 2009.

The Journal said the deal between the companies could be announced next week.

While Silver Lake and Technology Crossover Ventures focus on tech companies, KKR has a broad portfolio that, in addition to tech outfits such as Sungard, TASC, and Avago Technologies, includes Harman International, Sealy. Silver Lake scored a payday last month when Microsoft announced that it had acquired Skype for $8.5 billion. Silver Lake was a major investor in Skype, leading the group that acquired the VoIP provider in 2009 for approximately $2 billion from eBay. The company is also an investor in social-gaming company Zynga and Groupon, among many others.

CNET contributed to this report.