Starboard Value builds 6.5% stake in GoDaddy, sending shares up 8%

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Activist investor Starboard Value has taken a 6.5% stake in GoDaddy, sparking a rally in shares of the web services company.

The hedge fund bought more than 10,000 shares of GoDaddy, worth about $800 million, according to a regulatory filing. The new stake became the biggest holding for Starboard.

Shares of GoDaddy jumped more than 9% on the news Monday.

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The stock is flat on the year even as the company experienced a surge in online traffic amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Wall Street Journal first reported Starboard’s stake.

Starboard Value and GoDaddy did not immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment.

Starboard Value CEO Jeff Smith has been a prolific activist investor even during the pandemic as he pushed for changes in companies across the veterinary, chemicals and health-care industries.

Starboard Value manages about $6.2 billion in assets, according to filings through the first quarter of 2020. Smith spun the New York-based hedge fund out of investment firm Ramius in 2011.

— CNBC’s Jesse Pound contributed reporting.

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