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.