Web host Alabanza sold to Mass. firm NaviSite

BUSINESS DIGEST

August 14, 2007|By June Arney | June Arney,SUN REPORTER

Baltimore-based Alabanza LLC, a Web hosting company, has been sold to publicly traded NaviSite Inc., officials announced yesterday.

NaviSite, of Andover, Mass., purchased Alabanza along with a California-based company called Jupiter Hosting for about $15.5 million, according to information provided by NaviSite. Prices of the individual companies were not released.

The roughly 30 employees currently on staff at the Baltimore company are expected to remain in place. The name, Alabanza, comes from the Spanish word for praise, said Tom Cunningham, Alabanza's chief executive.

Alabanza, which puts companies online and manages their e-mail and Web sites, was founded in 1995 by Cunningham, an entrepreneur who created four other companies under the same umbrella.

"It's like watching a child grow and leave the nest," Cunningham said. "There's a lot of pride there. There's also a lot of gratitude to the employees who helped me build it."

Another one of those companies, Bulk Register, a domain name registrar, was sold to Demand Media last year.

The Alabanza deal came together in the past 90 days and was completed over the weekend, Cunningham said. He had been negotiating with a couple of different buyers, he said.

A spokesman for NaviSite did not return calls.

Alabanza's sale provides an influx of capital to Cunningham's operation, which will allow him to focus on two of his other companies: TruePresence, a national Internet marketing firm, and Baltimore Technology Park, a data center.

Based in Baltimore, TruePresence has 18 franchise operations across the country that allow clients to work with a local consultant backed by a national team of Web design, development and online marketing experts. It markets up and down the East Coast and west to Denver.

Cunningham hopes to have 50 franchises by the end of 2008 and 250 by the end of 2009, which would require 60 or 70 employees - up from 18 currently, he said.

Baltimore Technology Park, with corporate headquarters in Baltimore, is a purpose-built facility that provides security and backup space for businesses to house computer servers when they do not have adequate space in their main offices.

The company has sold out its first 10,000 square feet of space and has just spent about $5 million building out another 10,000 square feet, Cunningham said. The additional space eventually will require doubling its existing 6 employees, he said.

"I'm an entrepreneur, so I like new things," he said. "I think I've found a sweet spot in identifying new Internet innovations early and developing them."

june.arney@baltsun.com

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