The combination of group.ONE and dogado group will create a diversified pan-European champion in the web hosting and domains market, with one-stop-shop solutions to support SMEs with their online presence and success.

International private equity firm, Cinven, today announces that the Seventh Cinven Fund, in partnership with leading global investor Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (“Ontario Teachers’”), has agreed to acquire and combine group.ONE and dogado group (“dogado”). The combination of group.ONE and dogado will create a leading pan-European one-stop-shop provider of online presence solutions for small- and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) and small-office home-offices (“SOHOs”) including domain, web hosting, cloud hosting, business software and digital marketing services. Financial details of the transaction are not being disclosed.

group.ONE is a leading European provider of online presence solutions via mass hosting and software products to c. 1.6 million customers through brands including, Hostnet and WP Media. Headquartered in Sweden, group.ONE operates across a number of European countries and has strong positions in the Nordic and Benelux mass hosting markets. The company has more than 650 employees.

dogado is a leading provider of online presence solutions in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (the “DACH” region), offering mass and cloud hosting and digital marketing services to more than 380,000 customers through brands including dogado, Metanet and Herold. Headquartered in Germany, the company employs more than 500 people.

Cinven and Ontario Teachers’ believe the combination of group.ONE and dogado represents an attractive investment opportunity based on a number of factors, including:

  • Strong financial performance: group.ONE and dogado have strong financial track records. Both businesses have proven resilient through challenging macro environments, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the more recent economic and geopolitical uncertainty, thanks to their recurring subscription models, their large and highly diversified customer bases, and the mission-critical nature and low absolute cost of their offerings;
  • Structurally growing, resilient end-markets: The Nordic, Benelux and DACH online presence markets are expected to continue to experience growth over the next decade, driven by continued digitalisation across SMEs and a shift to higher value-add products that can help customers succeed in the broad and increasingly complex online ecosystem;
  • Highly complementary businesses that are well positioned in their respective end-markets: The combination of group.ONE and dogado will create a leading pan-European player, with strong positions in the Nordic, Benelux and DACH regions. In addition, group.ONE and dogado benefit from complementary product offerings and capabilities, such that the combined group can become a leading one-stop-shop provider of online presence solutions;
  • Experienced management teams: Both group.ONE and dogado are led by strong management teams with long-standing experience in the web hosting and domains sector. The combined group will benefit from the cumulative experience and complementary skills of the two teams; and
  • Extensive M&A pipeline in a fragmented but consolidating market: Both businesses have a strong track record of successfully identifying, executing and integrating add-on acquisitions. The combined group would represent a leading consolidation platform in the fragmented European hosting market.

Jacob Nordestgaard Jensen, founder and non-executive director of Group.ONE, who has remained a significant minority shareholder in the company, is reinvesting alongside Cinven and Ontario Teachers’ in the new transaction for a significant minority stake in the combined group. Senior managers from both group.ONE and dogado are also reinvesting materially in the business.

Thomas Railhac, Partner at Cinven, said:

“group.ONE has performed very strongly under Cinven’s ownership since its original investment in the business in 2019 and we are delighted to be continuing to support group.ONE’s growth strategy through this transaction. The combination of group.ONE and dogado will create a leading pan-European player in the online presence market, with significant opportunity for further growth, both organically and through buy and build. This is a sector we know well through Cinven’s successful investments in HEG and”

“We are delighted to be partnering with Ontario Teachers’ in this transaction. They are a committed, long-term investor and we look forward to working closely together with them and the combined group’s management team.”

Jean-Charles Douin, Senior Managing Director, Private Capital for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Ontario Teachers’ added:

“We are pleased to be partnering with Cinven to acquire group.ONE and dogado group. Both businesses are highly regarded in their markets and provide critical services to their SME customers, enabling them to maintain a vital online presence.”

“We see the combined business as a great fit for our European Private Capital portfolio given group.ONE and dogado’s leading positions in their respective markets and resilient subscription-based business models. We have a strong, long-standing relationship with Cinven and look forward to working together with them and management to support the company in the next stage of its growth.”

Daniel Hagemeier, CEO of dogado group commented:

“Today's announcement marks an exciting new chapter in our company's history. By bringing together the highly complementary businesses of group.ONE and dogado, we will create a new European market leader in the web hosting and domain market, with a unique and enhanced offering.”

“We are excited about the partnership with Cinven and Ontario Teachers’, who share our long-term vision for the business and will enable us to further expand our operations to best serve the growing needs of our clients. We look forward to working with the group.ONE team as we enter the next phase of growth.”

Stephan Wolfram, CEO of group.ONE, added:

“I have worked closely with the Cinven team since 2019, Cinven is now re-investing in our business, alongside Ontario Teachers’ in order to enable us to continue our strong growth trajectory.”

“That investment and the addition of dogado group, means that the combined group will be able to leverage its size and scale to significantly increase our growth opportunities across the Nordic, Benelux and DACH regions. We look forward to working with the dogado team in that journey.”

Completion of the transaction is subject to customary regulatory and antitrust approvals.