Squarespace paid billions to go private

  • Best known for advertising via YouTubers, Squarespace has taken a massive deal to go private.
  • Private equity firm Permira has paid $6.9 billion in an all-cash transaction to take the firm private.
  • Founder and CEO Anthony Casalena will remain on as CEO.

YouTube viewers will no doubt be familar with Squarespace, the platform that allows you to build a simple website quickly. The company famously advertises via content creators to grow its reach and it turns out that was a billion dollar strategy.

At least private equity firm Permira thinks so given that it just paid $6.9 billion in an all-cash transaction to take the website building platform private.

“Squarespace has been at the forefront of providing services to businesses looking to establish themselves online for more than two decades. We are excited to continue building on that foundation, and expanding our offerings, for years to come,” said Anthony Casalena, founder and chief executive officer at Squarespace.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Permira on this new leg of our journey, alongside our existing long-term investors General Atlantic and Accel, who strongly believe in the future of Squarespace.”

Casalena will continue to serve as the CEO and chairman of the Squarespace board, but will lose some of his equity in the transaction. The founder will still retain the largest number of shares once the transaction is completed.

Shareholders are being paid $44 per share, which is reportedly a 29 percent premium compared to the price shares have been trading at for the last 90 days. This news means the Investor Day scheduled for later this week will no longer be happening.

“Squarespace has built a distinct and globally recognized creative brand and an incredible, design-driven platform of tools that empower entrepreneurs and small businesses to establish and scale their online presence. As a firm with a long history of backing leading internet platforms and technologies that enable SMBs to compete globally, we are excited to partner with Anthony and his team to support the company in unlocking its full potential,” says partner at Permira, David Erlong.

When it comes to website building tools, Wix is by far the most popular choice for those looking to build a website with a marketshare of 43 percent. Squarespace accounts for around 22 percent of the market, according to data from December 2023. Squarespace is particularly popular in the US as is Weebly.

That data doesn’t include WordPress which drives an estimated 43.4 percent of all websites on the internet. The reason WordPress isn’t included is because technically its classed as a content management system and not solely a website builder.

With that having been said, we’re sure WordPress and Wix are looking at this transaction with wide eyes.

“Upon completion of the transaction, Squarespace will become a privately held company with the flexibility and resources to invest in enabling entrepreneurs to build better online brands and more easily transact with their customers,” Squarespace told its investors.


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