NCC Group Buys Open Registry

NCC Group have announced they have acquired the Belgium and Luxembourg based Open Registry group of companies for a maximum of £14.9m (€19.5m) in cash depending on performance-related targets.

NCC Group is a provider of Escrow, Assurance and Domain Services while Open Registry is an independent group of domain service companies providing backend registry operations to brand customers, registrar and trademark validation services.

This acquisition will enable the Group to offer a one stop shop providing secure domain services to corporate customers globally, including both registry and registrar services, whilst ensuring that their brands are properly protected in the domain world.

NCC is also the operator of the .trust gTLD that is currently in its Sunrise registration phase. For Open Registry, it is a leading European Registry Service Provider for global brands and globally is ranked number six in terms of brand gTLD applications under management.

Open Registry also operates the Clearinghouse for Intellectual Property S.A., one of three key service providers authorised by ICANN to operate the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH). The TMCH is the most important rights protection mechanism built into ICANN’s gTLD program and provides a centralised database of over 33,000 verified trademarks, which are connected to every new TLD. Additionally they own Nexperteam CVBA, an accredited registrar for several TLDs managing over 8,000 domain names.

The deal comprises an initial payment of £7.9m (€10.3m) followed by two further payments of up to £7.0m (€9.2m) in total over the next 36 months against performance related targets.

“The addition of registry, registrar and trademark protection services to our own web security capabilities, in our Domain Services division, will provide us with a considerable competitive advantage in this fast growing and extremely dynamic market,” said Rob Cotton, NCC Group Chief Executive.

“With the introduction of thousands of new gTLDS – 22 to over 1,400 in the next year alone, corporates are looking to outsource the registration, brand protection and management of their web presence securely.

“The business is a highly respected ICANN and industry player.  It significantly increases our presence and profile in the domain services sector and mainland Europe, as well as bringing a number of leading blue chip technology customers to the Group.

“We are delighted that OR’s very experienced management team is staying with us and look forward to working with them as we together enhance the business’ reputation as it benefits from the Group’s scale, reach, security expertise and experience in growing multi-national services businesses.”