SWITCH, the registry for Switzerland’s ccTLD .ch and Liechtenstein’s .li, has sold its registrar business switchplus to the Belgian webhoster Combell Group.
Since the early stages of the Swiss internet, SWITCH has performed a dual role. The foundation acted both as a registry operator for .ch and a registrar for the direct sale of .ch domain names to end customers. For any transfer of this direct customer business to the registrars, SWITCH considered it of strategic importance that it preserve the values it had developed as a registrar for the benefit of the foundation. These values included SWITCH’s expert knowledge, as well as its loyal customers. Consequently, establishing switchplus nine years ago was a deliberate strategic decision. With the separation carried out in 2016, SWITCH was able to transfer some of the values it had developed as a registrar to switchplus.
With the sale of switchplus, SWITCH will now focus on its core business with Swiss universities and ensures the security of the Internet in Switzerland. All proceeds of the sale will be invested to benefit universities in line with foundation’s objectives. This includes the development of innovative IT services in the areas of networks, IT security, identity management and cloud computing, as well as the security of the Swiss internet.
switchplus has over 400,000 domain names under management for around 130,000 customers, with the majority being businesses and entrepeneurs. It also has the highest market share among all .CH and .LI Registrars.
Andreas Dudler, Managing Director of SWITCH, is pleased about the successful sale.
“We are happy that we were able to sell switchplus to the Belgian Combell Group,” said Dudler. “I am also glad that Combell Group will retain all employees and that switchplus will remain active in the market as an autonomous company. I am convinced that the expert knowledge and size of Combell Group will provide switchplus with the ideal conditions for further growth.”
It’s the Combell Group’s first foray into Switzerland. Announcing their acquisition, Combell Group said not only will they retain the current workforce at Switchplus in Zurich, they will further invest into the expansion by adding and renewing products and services in favour of its customers. Over time, it will therefore also further split off the company from its roots at SWITCH and define its own future identity, by rebranding the company.
“Combell Group is thrilled to start its journey in Switzerland,” said Jonas Dhaenens, CEO of Combell Group. “We’re welcoming a lot of new customers, new colleagues and lots of expertise and we already see great potential ahead. Our first priority has always been to inspire and to innovate, in benefit of our customers. We want to enable entrepreneurs and small businesses to build their digital identity online using our services.”