In a press release overnight, Donuts, Inc announced the acquisition of Afilias, Inc.

Donuts Inc., the global leader in next generation top-level domains (TLD) and digital identity, today announces that it has entered into an agreement to purchase Afilias, Inc. for an undisclosed sum. The transaction, which will not include Afilias’ mobile software and registrar businesses, is expected to close in Q4 2020, following successful completion of regulatory requirements.

The Afilias registry business features a prominent back-end registry platform, DNS solutions and cyber-security expertise. Afilias operates the authoritative directories and DNS for over 200 top-level domains. The Afilias registry business also includes an impressive array of top-level domains such as .info, .global, and .mobi, as well as country codes, dotBrands and other generic TLDs.

Courtesy – CircleID.com

How Does This Affect Australia?

auDA has just posted a statement on their website in the last 30 minutes.


Donuts Inc. has today announced an agreement to purchase Afilias, Inc. subject to completion of regulatory requirements. 

Under its Registry License Agreement, any Change of Control of its Registry Operator, Afilias Australia Pty Ltd., requires the written consent of auDA. auDA has commenced a formal due diligence process to inform its decision regarding consent. 

The process will seek to ensure Donuts Inc., as the new ultimate holding company, can meet the high standards that Afilias Australia Pty Ltd is required to meet, and that Afilias Australia Pty Ltd will continue to deliver the stable, secure and reliable operation of the .au domain space. 


What do you think about this acquisition? Will there be any flow on effect to Australian registrants?

As one wag said to me 10 minutes ago, at least it wasn’t GoDaddy in this latest bout of musical chairs! 🙂

13 thoughts on “Breaking News – Afilias / auDA

  • Avatar
    November 20, 2020 at 7:10 am
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    I’m with you there🤘

    At least it wasn’t GoDaddy 😜

    But – curious to see how this changes domaining 🇦🇺 down-under.

    It could only be for 👉 “good” – right?

    There’s only one way forward for Australian registrants… A much “better way.”

    Still….No real idea what this will mean….😶

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  • Avatar
    November 20, 2020 at 9:36 am
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    auDA just wrote this today;

    “Under its Registry License Agreement, any Change of Control of its Registry Operator, Afilias Australia Pty Ltd., requires the written consent of auDA. auDA has commenced a formal due diligence process to inform its decision regarding consent. ”

    Does this mean they didn’t even know it was happening until now?

    If auDA knew it was happening, wouldn’t they have given all Australian businesses a heads-up a few weeks ago that this was about to happen?

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    • Avatar
      November 20, 2020 at 1:04 pm
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      Wow, This new board is really accountable & transparent lately (Bonuses for everyone).

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    • Avatar
      November 20, 2020 at 1:32 pm
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      There is a thing called confidentiality. auDA would not have been allowed to mention the transaction due to confidentiality with Afilias. auDA indeed knew about it for months and have been discussing it. Consent has been provided and the deal is done. At the end of this term auDA will take over the running of the registry as it has wanted to do for some time. Behind the scenes auDA have been bolstering staffing numbers (around 60 now). Bruce Tonkin is an advocate for auDA running the registry. They need to spend the tens on millions they are sitting on on something and soon. The loser out of out all of this is Afilias and Afilias Australia. They are single termers and there are plenty of clauses in the contract that means they have lost out financially. Ultimately the .au contract wont mean much to DONUTS and they will have proceeded with or without auDA’s consent.

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      • Avatar
        November 20, 2020 at 1:45 pm
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        Thanks for your opinion on this Adrian, and for letting me know that there’s a thing out there called confidentiality 🙂

        I’m not so sure though, it looks to me like they may have been blindsided. Either way, it’s not a good look.

        I guess time will tell.

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      • Avatar
        November 20, 2020 at 2:05 pm
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        Adrian, you say that “consent has been provided and the deal is done”. Is auDA’s statement just spin to save face?

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      • Scott.L
        November 20, 2020 at 2:21 pm
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        On the outside, auDA should have at least informed the market today that they had knowledge about this transaction. It reads like they don’t because according to their announcement they’re only starting their due diligence now.

        LOL, Getting an in-house registry only requires the approval of ten governing members. Now we can see why the constitution was changed to stop Associate Members from becoming Governing members because the registry contract ends 2021 and Associate members wont become governing members until 27 September 2022.

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      • Avatar
        November 20, 2020 at 2:56 pm
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        The problem with auDA is their corporate structure and their positioning as an NFP. They like to compare themselves with NominetUK and InternetNZ who both run their own registry but who different structures in place.

        auDA is generating 18M a year and the annual report dedicates an entire page to the auDA Foundation, which is fake news as it has not distributed a cent to the wider Australian community for several years now. The new board is playing the corporate game, its all about the government, big telcos and old boy networks. They like to throw “cybersecurity” into the conversation on a regular basis. None of the board has experience in auDA’s core business.

        I would question how auDA can be NFP, Regulator & Registry and how will they be held accountable.

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      • Avatar
        November 20, 2020 at 7:13 pm
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        Hmmm, The wording was wrong in the announcement if that were the case. I think that auDA found out when they checked their email this morning.

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  • Avatar
    November 20, 2020 at 12:59 pm
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    Why does an overseas company have to own vital Aussie infrastructure?

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  • Scott.L
    November 20, 2020 at 1:07 pm
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    auDA should have just developed its own in-house registry instead of leasing it out to third parties.

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    • Avatar
      November 20, 2020 at 1:18 pm
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      Every year the community and members ask them to consider the future, we’ve all done this so many times over the past 8 years… And look at where we’re at now.

      auda hampster wheel

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  • Avatar
    November 21, 2020 at 11:55 pm
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    “Under its Registry License Agreement, any Change of Control of its Registry Operator, Afilias Australia Pty Ltd., requires the written consent of auDA. auDA has commenced a formal due diligence process to inform its decision regarding consent.

    Australia’s Foreign Investment Policy has for decades contained like provisions. The Policy provided for notification and examination to assess whether a change of ownership would have the effect of a new owner or owners being in *a position to exercise effective control* after the change of ownership.

    I note there is legislation before the Australian Parliament – Foreign Investment Reform (Protecting Australia’s National Security) Bill 2020 – which *may* have implications for the proposed change of ownership/control of Afilias Australia. I’ve not read the legislation and mass of related information.

    If the legislation doesn’t have implications for the proposed change of ownership/control of Afilias Australia, it should be amended. Why?

    The Registry is a strategic resource and critical infrastructure that should be protected under National Security. For example, it underpins and plays a pivotal role in the Australian economy’s commerce, financial, banking and payment systems and many other systems of Australian governments.

    The proposed takeover of Afilias Australia, is a matter of national importance and interest that requires examination and report to Ministers, including consideration by Federal departments and agencies, including PM&C, Finance, Communications and Defence, Australian intelligence agencies, RBA and ACMA.

    Background information

    1. ParlInfo – Foreign Investment Reform (Protecting Australia’s National Security) Bill 2020
    https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r6614

    This link provides access to:
    Text of bill | Explanatory memoranda | Transcripts of Speeches including the Minister’s Second reading speech.

    2. On 28 October 2020, the Senate referred the provisions of the Foreign Investment Reform (Protecting Australia’s National Security) Bill 2020 … to the Economics Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 26 November 2020.
    https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Economics/ForeignReformAquisiti

    3. Preparations for the new foreign investment reforms, Foreign Investment Review Board
    https://firb.gov.au/about-firb/news/preparations-new-foreign-investment-reforms

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