American hedge fund Starboard Value acquired a 6.5% stake in GoDaddy, a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has shown. 

The deal had cost the fund approximately $ 800 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.

According to the filing, the fund believed shares in the web hosting group were “undervalued” and represented “an attractive investment opportunity”.

Fall and rise

Even though the price of GoDaddy’s shares has been steadily climbing for the last five years, the sentiment shifted last summer, when the price dropped from a July high of $ 90.33, to a November low of 65.70. 

In November, news broke of a data breach at website builder WordPress which affected 1.2 million of GoDaddy’s users – and also pushed the company's stock price downwards to bottom at $ 65.70.

In the last 24 hours, the news of the acquisition propelled the price upwards, erasing almost all of the recent downside movement. At press time, the price is $ 82.35, but still down some 8.8% from its July high.

Pushing GoDaddy to do better

“Depending upon overall market conditions, other investment opportunities available to the Reporting Persons, and the availability of shares at prices that would make the purchase or sale of shares desirable, the Reporting Persons may endeavor to increase or decrease their position in the Issuer through, among other things, the purchase or sale of shares on the open market or in private transactions or otherwise, on such terms and at such times as the Reporting Persons may deem advisable,” the filing said, suggesting that Starboard isn’t just looking at this as an opportunity to make money. 

The WSJ added that Starboard is planning to “push” the company to improve its performance as well.

GoDaddy’s fourth quarter was better than many analysts predicted. It posted earnings of 58 cents per share, last month, as well as a 14.2% increase in group revenues, topping at $ 960 million.

For the current fiscal year, GoDaddy says its overall revenue will be around $ 3.7 billion.

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