The owners of Internet company GoDaddy Inc. plan to sell some of their shares to the public in an initial public offering. But they're quietly holding on to something that could prove very valuable: the vast majority of the company's tax assets.
In a prospectus filed Monday night, GoDaddy said its existing owners will keep approximately 85 percent of "certain tax savings" that become available as the company converts from a partnership to a corporation through the IPO. GoDaddy, which offers domain names and other Web services, is currently owned by funds including KKR, Silver Lake, and Technology Crossover Ventures, along with founder Bob Parsons.
What exactly are the owners keeping? Tax assets accumulate when companies lose money, because tax authorities often allow losses to be used as an offset to profits in the future. Satellite radio operator Sirius XM Radio, for instance, racked up several billion dollars in losses last decade, but was able to avoid paying taxes for years after it became profitable. In fact, the company has touted its previous losses as a major selling point.