Belfast Telegraph

GoDaddy could see Brexit boost if more entrepreneurs 'strike out on their own'

US tech giant GoDaddy stands to get a boost from Brexit if more British entrepreneurs "strike out on their own" in the face of a bleak economic outlook.

GoDaddy, a major player in domain registration and web hosting, could see customer numbers grow even in the event of an economic downturn in the UK, chief executive Blake Irving told the Press Association.

"When a government or large businesses tend to fail, people, whether it's a citizen or somebody who's working for a company, think they have to strike out on their own and we actually benefit from that.

"Because when they're going to start something (like a business), they register a domain name or they start a website up and they get going because they feel they've got to bootstrap it themselves. So we have a resilience in that regard," he said.

GoDaddy is one of the latest US firms to make a move on the British market, having snapped up London-headquartered Host Europe Group (HEG) for 1.69 billion euro (£1.42 billion) in its largest acquisition to date.

HEG, which owns UK web domain registration site 123 Reg, is the largest privately-owned web service provider in Europe, with offices in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Romania and Bulgaria.

Mr Irving admitted that Brexit slowed the deal process for a "couple months" but that the Arizona-based firm was eventually assured and closed the deal.

"We went through with the deal, so we have confidence that the market - both Britain and Europe - are going to be strong for us."

GoDaddy already surpassed one million domains in Britain before the takeover, and Mr Irving said the company has continued to gain market share in the UK.

A number of American tech firms including Facebook, Apple and Google have renewed their commitment to the UK in recent months, despite the Brexit vote.

Apple is now set to consolidate its London operations in the Battersea Power Station from 2021, while Google will open a new London building that could create up to 3,000 jobs. Facebook has said it plans to expand its UK workforce by around 500 when it opens its London headquarters in 2017.

GoDaddy boasts over seven million international customers after acquiring HEG's 1.7 billion client accounts.

Mr Irving said that the company is now likely to focus in on existing operations, having already gained a foothold in 56 international markets.

"We think there's maybe some opportunity in northern Africa, or the Middle East, but, honestly, right now we're trying to become more effective in the markets we operate."

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