Ethos Capital becomes largest TLD provider through acquisition

The investor Ethos Capital has been prevented in March 2020 from taking over the top-levelDomain (TLD) .org failed. According to a Communication of the company, Ethos Capital has now nevertheless become the largest TLD-Provider have become. Donuts Inc., in turn, only took over the number 2 in the TLD market with the US company Afilias at the end of 2020.

What price Ethos Capital paid for the acquisition is not public. The org registry PIR was supposed to be for $1.135 billion. It is therefore likely that the successful acquisition of Donuts Inc. also took place in the billion range.

Ethos Capital was founded only recently by former ICANN employees explicitly for the purchase of the .org registry. With the investment now made, the company has a portfolio of around 450 TLDs.

Further acquisitions by Ethos Capital

According to a spokeswoman for Ethos Capital, the company is now primarily concerned with its own growth, "but is keeping its eyes open with an eye on opportunities to grow further through acquisitions as well."

An opportunity to do so could be coming soon, as rival Uniregistry is launching a Communication according to which its TLDs are to be sold as early as April. This is done individually via a Auction. In the future, Uniregistry wants to focus on the backend system by shedding the TLDs and IP-consulting. Among the TLDS that will soon be auctioned are .audio and .hiv. According to the trade journal Domainincite ...to bring in about $17 million.

Higher prices for domains?

In the future, further consolidation of the TLD market could lead to significantly higher retail prices, according to industry experts.

The market follows the general internet trend 'size matters'. Small providers are dependent on niches and if one occupies a successful niche, it will probably be bought up at some point.

Marcus Fauré, head of the German registrar Global Village

Other industry voices, however, see the growth of Ethos Capital positively, including Werner Staub from the Council of Registrars (CORE), who hopes that this will create a counterbalance to the giant VeriSign. According to Staub, the latter has too much influence on ICANN due to its size.

Kathrin Ohlmer, Managing Director of the capital domain .berlin, also sees the investments of Ethos Capital as positive for the industry, because this shows that financially strong companies are again evaluating TLDs as a profitable investment and are providing a corresponding amount of capital.

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