Oak Hill invests $150m in domain names

The Robert Bass-led firm has upped its exposure to the online marketplace sector with an investment in Oversee.net.

Oak Hill Capital Partners has agreed to make a $150 million (€38 million) investment in Oversee.net, an online marketing and domain name company based in Los Angeles.

Oversee’s DomainSponsor platform helps customers optimise the value of domain traffic through a series of domain name auctions and related services capabilities. The firm was founded in 2000 by Lawrence Ng and Fred Hsu, and had recently expanded its business in an effort to become the top firm in the domain name secondary-ownership market.

Last year Oversee acquired two other domain name service providers SnapNames and Moniker, for undisclosed amounts. SnapNames sells domain names that are expired or about to be deleted, while Moniker provides domain name registration and domain asset management services.

Oak Hill’s investment will help Oversee continue its growth by enhancing its product line with new technologies and enable it to make additional acquisitions, the company said.

“Oak Hill understands that the online marketing, traffic and domain sectors are rapidly growing, and they share our vision for establishing Oversee as a leading, trusted partner for domain owners and advertisers,” Ng said in a statement.

Oak Hill has several other technology investments in its portfolio. In 2005 Oak Hill and 3i paid £58 million for European data service center provider Telecity Group, and in 2006 the firm acquired Alibris, an online exchange for used and rare books, music and videos, for an undisclosed amount. In January of 2007 Oak Hill partnered with Tallwood Venture Capital to buy the research and development facilities of Cypress Semiconductor Corp for $53 million.

Oak Hill was formed in the 1980s as the private investment vehicle of Robert Bass. In 1999 Bass launched Oak Hill’s first institutional private equity fund, a $1.6 billion fund designed to be the successor for his private investment firm’s private equity business.