(Ping! Zine Issue 37) – The market for buying and selling web hosting companies ebbs and flows with the general business climate. It may be the case that the current economic downturn has created a buying opportunity for anyone looking to step up and buy a hosting company. You might think that buying a hosting company would take tons of cash. In some cases that is true, but in many others the size of the property is so small that the entire web hosting operation can be bought for thousands of dollars – not millions of dollars.
If one were inclined to seek out a website hosting company to buy – where do you look? How do you know what the market prices for any given type of hosting company are right now? I asked the advice of the experts at website hosting company 34SP.com. Here are a few resources they recommend you check if you are researching or considering buying a web hosting company.
MergerNetwork was the first online marketplace for buying and selling businesses. It went online in May 1995 under the name M&A Marketplace. The site now claims to have an additional 2,000 businesses listed for sale each month. You can see a number of different types of businesses for sale as well. The category link that displays web development and web hosting businesses is: http://www.mergernetwork.com/businesses-for-sale/industry/135. You will need to register if you want to see the listing details.
Claiming over 50,000 businesses for sale, BizBuySell is the ”Internet’s most active marketplace for businesses and franchises for sale. Each month BizBuySell receives over 700,000 visits from individuals looking for new business opportunities and from business owners looking to sell their business or franchise.” Similar to MergerNetwork, you can search by category or geography. The site is vast and the categories and search make zeroing in on a web hosting company for sale pretty tricky. The site is here: http://www.bizbuysell.com.
Flippa is billed as ”The #1 marketplace for buying and selling web sites.” Clean and easy to use, just go to the homepage and click the ‘Buy a Website’ button. I did a quick search by using the keywords ‘web hosting’. The results of that search query are here. While there are many other types of sites included in the search results, there were a few web hosting companies listed as well. The nice part of this site is that the information about number of visitors, PageRank, and Alexa rank are all listed for each site on the right column. This saves you a few steps of research. Also has a ‘Buy It Now’ feature in addition to bidding.
Another option in looking for a web hosting company to buy is Web Hosting Talk forums. This is a community made up of web hosting professionals, so the offers tend to be right to the point. You can usually find at least a few companies currently for sale under the category of ‘Other Related Offers’. Here is a direct link to the section that frequently has the web hosting companies listed for sale: http://www.webhostingtalk.com/forumdisplay.php?f=97.
As described on their website, Cheval Capital is: ”A boutique investment bank that specializes in mergers, acquisitions and corporate finance.” The company is run by Frank and Hillary Stiff. Together the team has vast amounts of experience and have handled many hosting-related transactions over the past few years. What I have found to be supremely helpful over the years has been a list of web hosting companies for sale that the company distributes via email. Dubbed the ”Cheval Opportunities List” it is comprised of assets currently for sale. The companies for sale are usually in the range between $50,000 US and $5 million US. The list is emailed out about every 2 weeks.
Cheval acts as an advisor in the transactions and is paid a modest fee by the buyer. The fee is paid as the buyer pays the purchase price – so if the seller is paid over time, Cheval Capital is paid over time as well. To get added to the mailing list for the Cheval Opportunities List, contact Frank Stiff at: fstiff[at]chevalcap.com, or phone directly at 703-549-7390.
So there you have it. A few places to check and see what types of hosting companies are for sale and get a sense of prices as well. Good luck in finding the right web hosting company for you.