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‘Historic times' for .CO Internet: Neustar to buy the Miami company for $109 million

Thousands of flying pigs – symbolizing anything is possible – flew across website screens on .CO Internet’s launch day in  2010. Now, nearly four years later, CEO Juan Diego Calle shared in the company’s blog that "it's onward and upward for .CO" -- the Miami company is being purchased.

Neustar, a publicly traded company based in Sterling, Va., that provides real-time information and analytics, on Thursday said it has agreed to acquire .CO Internet S.A.S.  .CO Internet is the exclusive operator of the worldwide registry for Internet addresses with the “.co” top-level domain. 

The price, according to the SEC filing:  $109 million.

Since .CO Internet's global launch in 2010, names under management for .co have grown to more than 1.6 million in over 200 countries and territories worldwide. Last year, .CO's revenue was $21 million. Neustar has always had an existing partnership with .CO to provide registry services and infrastructure support for .co extensions, the top-level domain assigned to Colombia. 

BIZMON_dotCO three mcb“Historic times for .CO ... I couldn’t be more proud to share this news or more excited about what the future holds in store for .CO! While this announcement may come as a surprise to some, we’ve spent the last year thoughtfully planning our long-term growth strategy. In our desire to take .CO to the next level, we are confident that now is the perfect time to join forces with Neustar,” said Calle in his blog post. Calle, his co-founders  Nicolai Bezsonoff and Lori Anne Wardi (pictured at left) and much of his team are based in Miami.  

“With a suite of leading edge technologies, access to a huge distribution network of retailers, and an unparalleled portfolio of domain-related products and services, Neustar is well positioned to turn scale into a strategic competitive advantage in the years ahead – and to help fast track the growth of the .CO brand and business worldwide,” he continued.

Calle said  Neustar is  “excited about the strong global brand we have built around the .CO domain – a brand that is synonymous with innovation and opportunity, and that appeals to a new generation of startups, entrepreneurs and tech savvy businesses…. Considering the success of our joint venture over the past five years, and the incredible opportunity we have to leverage one another’s strengths in the future, I am convinced that Neustar and .CO make a perfect combination. Just like peanut butter and jelly!”

The acquisition of .CO Internet expands Neustar's registry services, which maintains the .biz and .us top-level domains and has been selected to provide services for up to 350 new domain extensions as a result of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (ICANN) ongoing global domain name expansion. 

“The acquisition of .CO Internet is a natural fit for us given our successful partnership over the past four years and our domain name expertise,” said Lisa Hook, president and CEO of Neustar, in a statement. “By combining .CO Internet’s innovative domain marketing capabilities with Neustar’s distribution network and technical resources, we will be able to broaden our registry services and the .co brand worldwide, while creating shareholder value.”

The acquisition is subject to standard closing conditions and is expected to close within one month. Following the acquisition, .CO Internet, as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Neustar, will continue to manage the .co domain extensions from its headquarters in Bogota, the news release said.

 POP.co and Nu dot Co LLC are not part of the transaction.

Read my 2013 profile about .CO Internet here.

The road to .CO -- a blog post.

Posted March 20, 2014