More Domain Industry Consolidation as CentralNic Acquires Key-Systems

The British-based CentralNic has acquired the parent company of the German Key-Systems, KeyDrive, for $35.8 million it was announced today. The acquisition will see the combined group become the 11th largest registrar globally by generic top level domain volume and will be among the top 5 registry service providers by number of registry clients.

Key-Systems, which his owned by a holding company called KeyDrive based in Luxembourg, includes a number of prominent domain name registrars and related businesses include new gTLD registry KSregistry, Skyway Data Center, nic.saarland, BrandShelter, Domain Discount 24, PartnerGate and Thomsen Trampedach, among others.

“The acquisition of KeyDrive is a milestone for the company,” said Ben Crawford, CEO of CentralNic. “On completion, the enlarged group will have doubled in size and will have the technology platforms, expert staff, vision and drive to rival the industry’s traditional leaders.”

Alex Siffrin, the founder and CEO of KeyDrive will become Chief Operating Officer of the Company and will also be a significant shareholder.

KeyDrive logo“I am personally excited to be welcoming Alex to CentralNic,” continued Crawford. “His experience, shared values and standing within the industry will be a tremendous benefit to the group and a great addition to the management team.”

According to an announcement from CentralNic, the acquisition represents a reverse takeover under the AIM rules for Companies and is conditional upon shareholder approval.

CentralNic has been on an acquisition spree in recent years having acquired the Australian-New Zealand registrar instra for A$33 million in 2015, the rights to operate the .sk (Slovakia) country code top level domain (ccTLD) and renewed their exclusive wholesaler contract with XYZ.com – the owner of the .xyz new gTLD till 2032, both in 2017.

In 2017, it was reported that “CentralNic’s longer-term vision is to ‘join the ranks of world leaders in its industry, which include a number of multi-billion-dollar companies.’”

In the new gTLD business, CentralNic currently provides backend registry services for 48 new gTLDs with over 4.8 million domain names under management making it the second largest by DUM while Key-Systems, through KSregistry, has 27 new gTLDs with over 32,000 DUM, according to nTLDstats. KSregistry mostly has brand new gTLDs hence the lower number of registrations while CentralNic’s include .xyz with 2.048 million, .online (844,000) and .site (499,000) with 8 with more than 100,000 registrations.

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