Miami tech company .CO Internet to be acquired 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 young Miami technology company is being purchased.

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

The price tag, according to Neustar’s 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 more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. Last year, .CO's revenue was $21 million. Neustar has always been a partner with .CO Internet, providing registry services and infrastructure support for .co extensions, the top-level domain assigned to Colombia. 

"Historic times 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. The serial entrepreneur, his co-founders Nicolai Bezsonoff and Lori Anne Wardi and much of his team of about 25 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, adding that Neustar is"excited about the strong global brand we have built around the .CO domain.”

The acquisition of .CO Internet expands Neustar's registry services, which maintains the .biz and .us 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. 

"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," said Lisa Hook, president and CEO of Neustar in a statement.

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.

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.

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