Exodus Buys Global Online

Back to Contents of Issue: February 2000

by Tanya Clark

GOL CEO
Roger Boisvert.
Exodus Communications has purchased Japan-based ISP Global Online (see "Tokyo's GOL: Daring to Be Different," J@pan Inc., November 1999).

Exodus, which describes itself as North America's top provider of Internet systems and network management solutions for enterprises with mission-critical Internet operations, acquired GOL to expand its operations outside the US and Europe.

"Japan is the number-two IT market in the world," says Joseph Stockwell, VP of business development. "Many of our customers are looking for global market share, and all of them want to address Japan. And Japan, in its own right, is a rising Internet power."

The California-based company opened its first dedicated Internet Data Center in August 1996, adding managed services in 1997. Last year the company pushed the number of data centers past nine, including its first one in Europe. Its clients include eBay, Yahoo, Lycos, MSN Hotmail, USA Today Information Network, GeoCities, Inktomi, Fujitsu PC, Estee Lauder, National Semiconductor, and SportsLine USA. The company went public under the ticker EXDS on Nasdaq in 1998.

Stockwell says Exodus wants to be in Japan "early on to help define the complex hosting and network services market." He says Exodus scoped out numerous Japan-based companies before deciding on GOL. The company was selected for its "great mix of technical experience and engineering talent, which is hard to find in Japan." Other selling points were GOL's multilingual capability and an in-depth knowledge of the country, with a team that's been managing companies in Japan for 20 years, Stockwell says. The deal, managed by Broadview, was signed in late November. Neither company is disclosing GOL's purchase price, though rumor around Tokyo says GOL went for about $30 million.

Many are wondering what will become of GOL's dial-up Internet access services. Exodus says in its annual report that the hosting business is "the only business we are in." GOL, meanwhile, has developed a solid position in providing dial-up access for foreigners living in Japan.

Roger Boisvert, GOL's CEO, has assured customers that dial-up services under the GOL name will continue. Stockwell sings a similar tune: "All of GOL's customers are important to us. We are not going to leave any behind." He adds that what makes sense in the US doesn't necessarily make sense in Japan.

Boisvert, who will become president and representative director of the Japan subsidiary of Exodus, is well known in Japan's expat IT industry. Speculation is rife that his iconoclastic personality will chafe at working for anyone. And with his share of GOL's purchase price, he's well positioned to venture out and launch another Internet startup -- this time with enough cash to avoid the scrambling for investors that marked his efforts at GOL.

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