Less than one month after it was announced Donuts were taking on the domain name registry business of Afilias, Ethos Capital has announced it is taking over Donuts by acquiring a controlling interest in the company.
In a statement on the Ethos website, the investment firm says “Donuts is an outstanding business and leader in their industry. We are excited to partner with the very capable team at Donuts and support their commitment to reliability, security and stability.”
The move comes after the long-drawn-out saga of Ethos attempting to take over Public Interest Registry, the .org registry, which eventually failed. Whether Ethos then turned their attention to Donuts, or they were looking at Donuts as well, isn’t known. But given the timeframes of takeovers, it is likely that at least Ethos began discussions with Donuts before the Afilias deal was announced.
Ethos themselves have not been without controversy. One of their co-CEOs is former ICANN President and CEO from 2012 to 2016 Fadi Chehadé, of whom questions have been raised previously as to his connections to ICANN. And suddenly he moved from advisor to co-CEO in July 2020.
Prior to this, back in 2018 ABRY Partners acquired Donuts, and again Chehadé had a hand in, as this is the company he announced he was joining as a Senior Advisor on Digital Strategy when he resigned from ICANN only 3 years earlier in August 2015. It appears he isn’t involved in ABRY any more.
The takeover of Donuts will see Ethos providing backend registry services for 415 new generic top-level domains (new gTLDs) and have close to 4.8 million domain names under management according to nTLDstats. Of these Ethos will now own 260 new gTLDs with 4.55 million domain names under management. They will also provide backend registry services to an array of top-level domains such as .info, .global, and .mobi, and a number of country codes.