Melbourne IT Buys WebCentral in Australian Merger

Domain reseller specialist Melbourne IT said today that it will acquire WebCentral Group for $61 million (about $45.7 million in U.S. dollars), combining two of Australia's most prominent Internet service providers. The deal is the latest in a flurry of acquisitions in the past month as consolidation accelerates in the web hosting and domain industries.

Melbourne IT manages domain names purchased by customers of Yahoo Small Business and Microsoft's new Office Live hosting service, along with many other hosting providers. WebCentral is Australia's largest hosting company as measured by active sites, with 25.8K sites. The deal continues a trend in which domain registrars and web hosts have expanded into one another's specialties.

"The proposed acquisition will bring together two of Australia's leading web-services businesses, generating significant benefits for customers, shareholders and staff of both companies," said Theo Hnarakis, CEO and Managing Director of Melbourne IT. "All WebCentral customers can be assured that they will continue to receive the high levels of service to which they are accustomed."

The combined company will have sales of over $130 million and approximately 400 staff worldwide.