US non-profit organisation The Internet Society is selling its assets – including the Public Interest Registry (PIR) which owns the right to .org domains – to a private equity company, Ethos Capital, for an undisclosed sum. The deal puts the registry of 10 million global .org domain names and their cash flow in private hands.
Ethos Capital, a newly founded private equity firm, will acquire both the Internet Society and its Public Interest Registry (PIR) – an entity set up to manage the .org registry in 2002 – in a transaction expected to close early next year. The deal comes five months after after ICANN (a non-profit that coordinates domain names) agreed to remove price caps on .org domain names, against widespread opposition.
Richard Kirkendall, CEO of Namecheap, which filed a reconsideration request with ICANN over the .org price cap removal, told Domain Name Wire’s Andrew Alleman that he was “disturbed” by the deal. He said: “Obviously, we are disturbed by the timing of this transaction and how it reflects on the decision by ICANN to lift the price caps. While we all as registrars will be affected by this sale, the biggest losers will be our customers and all other .org holders who are sure to see their renewal prices increase over time.”
The deal was advised by Goldman Sachs on The Internet Society and PIR side, and Macquarie Capital on the Ethos Capital side.