I recently learned that Austin.com was up for sale and being brokered by Toronto-based OODIENCE.com. While I was able to get some high-level details about the sale thanks to this press release, I wanted to know more and thought that MorganLinton.com readers would want to know more as well.
So…I asked OODIENCE if they would be open to answering a handful of questions, they said yes, and so I’m excited to share this with all of you. Given that Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in the country and that the tech scene is growing there every year this seems likely to be a blockbuster sale so I think it’s a good one to do a deeper dive into. Special thanks to Rob Toth, the CEO of OODIENCE for taking the time – enjoy!
[MORGAN] When did the owner of Austin.com first reach-out to you to discuss the potential of helping them sell the domain?
[ROB] The client’s company purchased a media channel from a deal that my strategic M&A firm, OODIENCE, was representing last year. Soon after, he reconnected regarding a future plan to sell this domain from his portfolio. We didn’t initiate the contract right away and given the agreed on timeline due to our own bandwidth, the active marketing and outreach only started recently.
[MORGAN] How long has the current owner had the name for?
[ROB] He’s been the owner for a good number of years now.
[MORGAN] Why did the current owner decide that now was the time to sell?
[ROB] He’s been a prolific domainer but also investor in various other businesses for some time. In fact, two of the most common reasons business owners sell is either loss of interest, or, as in this case, to self-fund or fuel a new business venture. Which is precisely the case here too. He has business objectives and I guess he felt instead of selling flamethrowers, he’d liquidate a company asset instead.
[MORGAN] Do you think Austin.com is the most valuable city name in Texas (i.e. vs. Dallas.com or Houston.com)?
[ROB] Naturally my answer will be biased but I do. Austin is winning the attention across the board. Tthe global brand name of Austin is stronger than any other Texas city partially fueled by events like SXSW. The city’s growth is outpacing many metropolitan centers in the US. Austin is becoming a second home or a migration target for Silicon Valley types and, as a by-product, is already a hot startup and VC sector. It has a strong growth in alternative energy such as solar and wind energy. It’s becoming powerful in politics. And an already thriving crypto+blockchain industry calls Austin home. All Texan roads lead to Austin.
[MORGAN] Are you able to share if the owner is open to lease to own deals or if they’re looking for all-cash only?
[ROB] Naturally the best deal in any transaction is a frictionless deal, to a buyer who can best utilize the asset and will pay the top dollar, in all cash. But, in any win-win deal there is typically a bit of give. We’re hard set on a “best buyer” (we can afford to be selective), we do have a bottom price that we simply have no motivation to explore under … but we recognize that the mix of a right buyer, right price and right deal means the deal terms should provide some flexibility. So yes, there is opportunity for some form of lease-to-own or payments model though that deal too would likely see a bulk payment to engage the deal and would need to be a right Buyer. I guess the short of it: just as the terms have to make sense to a Buyer for them to engage, it has to be overall compelling and interesting enough for our Client to proceed.
Rob also told me that while he can’t disclose the exact price, he can say that it is in the seven figure range, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise to me.
Thanks again to Rob for taking the time to answer my questions. My guess is that if any of my readers have questions, Rob will probably be looking at the comments here so there’s a good chance you’ll get your questions answered too. So on that note – I’d love to hear what you think about Austin.com – comment and let your voice be heard!