Domain name registry Donuts raises $110M in financing to help fund $213M acquisition of former rival Rightside

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Donuts, a domain name registry based in Kirkland, Wash., has raised $110 million in financing to help complete its $213 million acquisition of fellow domain company Rightside Group.

Bruce Jaffe
Donuts CEO Bruce Jaffe

Donuts said the funds come in the form of a loan led by Silicon Valley Bank, a division of SVB Financial Group, with participation from Cadence Bank, N.A., Comerica Bank, Pacific Western Bank, and Umpqua Bank. Donuts said the funds will also be used for “general corporate purposes.”

In June, Donuts announced plans to acquire publicly traded Rightside for $10.60 per share, the equivalent of $213 million in cash. The two companies — previously located just a few miles apart but now sharing a Kirkland headquarters — had flirted in the past. Last year, Rightside turned down what it called an unsolicited and opportunistic offer from Donuts to buy its domain registry business for $70 million.

But merger discussions continued between the two companies, and things appeared to accelerate earlier this year when former Microsoft mergers and acquisitions executive Bruce Jaffe took over as CEO of Donuts in January.

Rightside operates both registry and registrar businesses. Its registry owns domain name extensions — also known as top-level domains — such as .band, .dance and .sale. The registrar sells specific domain names to the public.

Privately held and heavily funded Donuts owns 238 domain name extensions, including .movie, .LTD, .agency, .email, .school and .group. Donuts employs about 40 people globally, while Rightside employed 135 people at the end of 2016.