The merger of group.ONE and dogado group will create a diversified pan-European champion in the web hosting and domain name market, offering one-stop solutions to support the online presence and success of SMEs.
International private equity firm Cinven announced today that the Seventh Cinven Fund, in partnership with leading global investor Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (“Ontario Teachers”), has agreed to acquire and merge group.ONE and dogado Group (“dogado”). The merger of group.ONE and dogado will create a leading pan-European one-stop provider of online presence solutions for small and medium enterprises (“SME”) and small home offices (“SOHO”) including domain names, web hosting, cloud Hosting, business software and digital marketing services. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
group.ONE is Europe’s leading provider of online presence solutions through a wide range of hosting and software products c. 1.6 million customers through brands such as one.com, Hostnet and WP Media. headquartered in Sweden, group.ONE operates in several European countries and has a strong position in the Nordic and Benelux mass hosting markets. The company has more than 650 employees.
dogado is a leading provider of online presence solutions in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (the “DACH” region), offering mass and cloud hosting and digital marketing services to over 380,000 customers through brands such as dogado, Metanet and Herold. The company is headquartered in Germany and has more than 500 employees.
Cinven and Ontario Teachers believe that the combination of group.ONE and dogado represents an attractive investment opportunity based on a number of factors, including:
- strong financial performance: group.ONE and dogado have strong financial records. Both companies have demonstrated resilience in challenging macro environments, including the COVID-19 pandemic and recent economic and geopolitical uncertainties, thanks to their recurring subscription models, large and highly diversified customer base, and the mission-critical nature and low absolute cost of their products;
- Structural Growth, Resilient End Markets: The Nordic, Benelux and DACH online presence markets are expected to continue to grow over the next decade, mainly driven by continued digitization globally SMEs Shifting to higher value-added products to help clients succeed in the broad and increasingly complex online ecosystem;
- Highly complementary businesses well positioned in their respective end markets: The combination of group.ONE and dogado will create a leading pan-European player with a strong position in the Nordic, Benelux and DACH regions. In addition, group.ONE and dogado benefit from complementary product offerings and capabilities, so the combined group can become a leading one-stop service provider for online presence solutions;
- Experienced Management Team: group.ONE and dogado are both led by strong management teams with long experience in the web hosting and domain names.The combined team will benefit from the accumulated experience and complementary skills of both teams; and
- Extensive M&A pipeline in a fragmented but consolidated market: Both companies have proven track records of successfully identifying, executing and integrating add-on acquisitions. The combined group will represent the leading integrated platform in the fragmented European hosting market.
Group.ONE founder and non-executive director Jacob Nordestgaard Jensen, who remains a significant minority shareholder in the company, will reinvest in the new transaction, along with Cinven and Ontario Teachers’, to gain a significant minority stake in the combined group. Senior executives of group.ONE and dogado are also making significant reinvestments in the business.
Cinven Partner Thomas Railhac said:
“group.ONE has performed very strongly under Cinven’s leadership since initially investing in the business in 2019 and we are pleased to continue supporting group.ONE’s growth strategy with this transaction. The combined group.ONE and dogado will have a strong online presence in the market Significant opportunity to build a leading pan-European player on the Internet with further growth, both organically and through buy and build. This is an area we know well through Cinven’s successful investments in HEG and one.com.”
“We are delighted to be partnering with the Ontario Teachers Association on this transaction. They are committed long-term investors and we look forward to working closely with them and the combined group management team.”
Jean-Charles Douin, Senior Managing Director, Private Capital Europe, Middle East and Africa, Ontario Teachers Association added:
“We are delighted to partner with Cinven get group.ONE and dogado groups. Both businesses are highly regarded in their respective markets and provide critical services to SME customers, enabling them to maintain their vital online presence. “
“We believe the combined business is an excellent fit for our European Private Capital portfolio, given the leadership positions of group.ONE and dogado in their respective markets and resilient subscription-based business models. We have a strong, long-standing relationship with Cinven and look forward to Working with them and management to support the next phase of the company’s growth.”
Daniel Hagemeier, CEO of the dogado Group commented:
“Today’s announcement marks an exciting new chapter in our company’s history. By bringing together group.ONE and dogado’s highly complementary businesses, we will create a new European market leader in the web hosting and domaining markets, offering a unique and enhanced product.”
“We are delighted to enter into a partnership with Cinven and Ontario Teachers’ who share our long-term business vision and will allow us to further expand our business to best meet the growing needs of our customers. We look forward to working with the group. ONE teamed up to move into the next phase of growth.”
Group.ONE CEO Stephan Wolfram added:
“I have been working closely with the Cinven team since 2019 and Cinven is now reinvesting in our business as well as Ontario Teachers to allow us to continue our strong growth trajectory.”
“This investment and the addition of the dogado group means that the combined group will be able to leverage its size and scale to significantly increase our growth opportunities in the Nordic, Benelux and DACH regions. We look forward to working with dogado on this journey teamwork.”
Completion of the transaction is subject to customary regulatory and antitrust approvals.