Google sells its domain registration business.
In a surprising announcement today, website building platform Squarespace (NYSE: SQSP) announced that it’s buying Google Domains, Google’s domain name registrar. The purchase price is $180 million, and JPMorgan Chase Bank is providing financing for part of the purchase.
Google launched its domain registrar in 2014, originally calling it an experiment. It has since ballooned into one of the largest domain registrars, with approximately 10 million domains under management. Over half of those domains are .com. Google is the fifth largest domain name registrar for .com domains.
The company’s decision to divest this business comes as a surprise. It said the decision is “In keeping with our efforts to sharpen our focus.”
Google Domains is a big prize for Squarespace given its customer base. The company has focused on selling domains to end users, and Squarespace hopes to convert some of these people into customers of its site building and other tools.
Squarespace will honor Google Domains renewal prices for current customers for at least 12 months. Customers will remain on Google’s registrar platform during a transition period. Squarespace will also become the exclusive domain name provider for any customer purchasing a domain along with their Workspace subscription from Google directly for a minimum of three years.
SquareSpace is also a registrar. On a conference call today, CEO Anthony Casalena noted that the company has millions of domains under management. According to ICANN reports, about 850,000 are .com domains. Some of its domains are sold through resellers.
The deal is expected to close in Q3.