Oakley Capital has announced that it has reached an agreement to sell its stake in WebPros Group, provider of web hosting automation software, to CVC.
As we mentioned before, Oakley Capital was looking for an opportunity to sell Swiss web hosting software maker WebPros comprises of cPanel, Plesk, SolusVM, WHMCS, and XOVI. Oakley Capital bought WebPros in 2017 which has annual earnings between $100 million to $110 million before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization. WebPros now employs over 450 professionals across four continents and has global customer support.
Long-term growth opportunities and new product developments
Oakley Capital, along with other co-investors, has reached an agreement to sell its stake in WebPros to CVC. The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals. Arma Partners acted as WebPros’ financial adviser in connection with this transaction. Oakley Capital will invest $200 million alongside CVC Fund as a minority partner to benefit from long-term growth opportunities and new product developments. The investment in WebPros provides an opportunity for Oakley to continue its partnership with the management team and co-investors, and to benefit from the significant long-term growth potential in WebPros, through its extensive product roadmap.
Peter Dubens, Managing Partner of Oakley Capital said:
“The success of WebPros to date is the result of many features that are typical of an Oakley investment. A partnership with entrepreneurs we have backed before, a buy-and-build strategy which tackled a high degree of complexity and a sector in which we have deep experience. We would like to thank the team for all their hard work in bringing the group together and look forward to supporting the business in its next phase of growth alongside CVC.”
Leif Lindbäck, Senior Managing Director at CVC Capital Partners said:
“CVC has a proven track record of teaming up with entrepreneurs and like-minded investors to support and build better businesses. WebPros brings critical automation and security tools to hosting providers, web agencies and their customers. We look forward to partnering with Oakley Capital and working closely with the management team to continue building the leading global SaaS hosting platform for server management.”
New pricing may be on the way
cPanel decided to increase prices in the Summer of 2018 and it affected the web hosting business drastically. Considering the sale decision made by the Oakley, we may assume that cPanel might be failed to increase its revenue as they expected. As you may also remember, the price increase hit especially hosting companies hard. The new pricing might seem reasonable for small businesses but if we consider a larger number of accounts it gets worse. For example annual price for 100 accounts per server raised to $540 from $425. But the annual price for 1000 accounts per server jumped to $2700 from $425. This “per-account pricing” led most big web hosting companies to reconsider their pricing.
Now that cPanel is being sold to the CVC along with Plesk, a new pricing system might be on the way. Considering the Oakley’s decision to sell the WebPros, we may come to the conclusion that Oakley couldn’t find what they expected as a revenue. If this is the case, CVC may also consider a new pricing plan for both cPanel and Plesk. It would also affect the hosting business and prices.
We also know that some companies found the price increase in the summer of 2019 as not so acceptable. If cPanel decides to increase the pricing again, some companies may even start considering switching to the open-source or more affordable alternatives. We will have to wait and see the cPanel’s next move and the industry’s reaction.
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