Intuit Selling its Web Hosting Business to Endurance International Group

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Finance software giant Intuit reached a deal this week to sell its Intuit Websites business, a web hosting service that includes the previously-acquired Homestead Technologies business, to shared hosting giant Endurance International Group.

Intuit, which acquired Homestead back in 2007, had become a pretty significant force in the hosting space, one of several companies from outside the business to make its way into the hosting space via an acquisition, as a means of targeting a large existing base of customers. Similar moves have been made by printing services companies Deluxe, which acquired hosting provider Hostopia (Deluxe later acquired hosting provider Aplus.net) and VistaPrint, which acquired website builder and hosting firm Webs.com.

Website hosting was part of a big push for Intuit, which made some waves in the hosting market by being one of a small handful of companies advertising hosting services on television, for example.

Intuit Websites was part of the company’s Small Business Group, an overall set of services aimed at small business customers. In what might be either an affirmation for hosting providers worried that competition from big all-in-one small business services – or bad news for hosting companies looking to potentially be acquired by such a firm – the sale has a hint of an admission that the hosting business wasn’t working out for Intuit.

“The way small businesses think about their Web presence is evolving and our customers will be better served by a company that is primarily focused on websites and hosting services,” said Barry Saik, vice president and general manager of Intuit’s Grow Your Business division, quoted in the press release. “Selling Intuit Websites to Endurance presented the best way to accelerate our Small Business Group’s success and provide our customers with a best-in-class solution.”

Intuit paid $170 million for Homestead in 2007. The cost of the sale to Endurance was not disclosed in the announcement. In the press release, the company says the Intuit Websites business contributed $76 million of revenue in fiscal 2012.

Endurance, of course, is well known for its ongoing effort to acquire prominent hosting companies serving the mass market. Endurance tends to continue operating those hosting brands it acquires as separate brands, while migrating some of their systems onto its own platform, and the company currently operates close to 40 hosting brands, serving nearly 3 million customers and 10 million domains.

“With this acquisition, Endurance will add the intuitive and adaptable website builder that Intuit developed, which will provide immediate benefits to our customers and strategic value to our company,” said Hari Ravichandran, chief executive officer and founder of Endurance, also quoted in the press release. “This acquisition also enables Endurance to provide current Intuit Website customers with access to our comprehensive online applications and services, allowing them to enhance and grow their online presences over time.”

Endurance’s most recent acquisition move was the purchase of shared and reseller hosting giant HostGator. While the news first surfaced in June as rumor, it has since been confirmed by the companies.

Talk back: Do you think the sale of Intuit’s web hosting business means its all-in-one model wasn’t as successful as the company hoped? Is that a good thing, or a bad thing, in your opinion? How do you feel about Endurance’s ongoing expansion through acquisition? Let us know in the comments.

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4 Comments

  1. I got the message telling that my own Homestead account was closed. I don't know why? I was willing to pay the amount I am used to pay. Can the reason for closing the account be?: 1.--- Homestead did send a message that was difficult to understand. They wrote: "We´re in the process of updating how you sign in to your website account.. e.t.c". When I tried the link it came up a new page that tells me that my site was closed. I could phone your Customer Support Department. This is very difficult because: A.-- Long waiting before the customer get into contact with their department. B.--- Language problems for not English speaking customers. C.--- Customers in Europe have to call you when it is night in U.S.A. D.--- How can you identify a customer within short time when they have 12 millions of them? I have assisted many of my Norwegian business partners to make/design web pages by using Homestead. In addition to me I have learnt that three of my customers using Homestead have got their sites closed when they tried to pay for continuing services. I have read in independent blog that lots of earlier Homestead customers have had the same problem. This must be serious for Homestead ??? To improve Homestead services to foreign customers they should: 1.--- Make paying easy. 2.--- Make it possible to contact Homestead by email. I sent email twice using two of Homesteads email- accounts and got no answers.. 3.--- Do it possible for foreign customers to finish the account without being forced to phone Homestead in the U.S. To prove that the right customer is writing to Homestead is the senders e-mail(address). You can control it by asking for password or given identification number. NB! I do not answer phonecalls from outside Norway because they always seem to be somewhat “skummy”. For the time being my sites are closed. Please give me information so that I still can remain a Homestead customer and give me instruction how? The way you do it now does not function. Regards Arvid Tunholt Authorised Accountant

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  2. Wouldn't it have been swell if Intuit and/or Endurance had contacted all the existing customers to let them know about the sale and what we could expect from Endurance rather than leaving us all in the dark, chewing our nails and wondering what is going to happen to our sites? It also concerns me that Endurance is saying that "Endurance will add the intuitive and adaptable website builder that Intuit developed," If this means SiteBuilder Plus then heaven help Endurance. Plus is just one of many reasons the acquisition by Intuit didn't work out. I wish Endurance well and hope they have the foresight to involve their customers in decisions about the direction SiteBuilder aka Homestead will be going.

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  3. Jeffery Southworth

    Liam, This is extremely welcome news. I started as a Homestead customer which had an exemplary site builder AND great support. After being acquired by Intuit, they outsourced their support to the Phillippines and has it become atrocious. It is the same kind of lously support you get with QuickBooks. I hope Endurance will move the support from offshore and offer paid support so we can have access to competent and knowlegable support resources.

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  4. Thanks for the post Liam, I can't say I know of those two companies, but this does have me wondering if smaller web hosts will be selling up because hosting is becoming cheaper and cheaper all the time, so smaller companies who only offering hosting may find it hard to earn much of an income?

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