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October 16, 2003

Verisign Drops Registrar Service

Verisign has decided to get out of the domain registrar (the selling and assigning of available domain names) service. I doubt this was an overnight decision, so it appears that the SiteFinder service was an attempt to drive up the value of the site registry portion of their business before selling it off. Verisign sold off the registry portion to Pivotal Private Equity, a subsidiary of Pivotal Group. Pivotal Private Equity specializes in rebuilding underperforming companies while Pivotal Group is an investment and development group that, according to it’s web site, has ”primary concentration on high-quality real estate assets in premier markets.” Under the terms of the agree ment Verisign gets approximately $100 Million USD in cash and notes. They will also retain 15% stake in Network Solutions (the sold off portion retains the name of the company that Verisign bought up years ago.) Verisign will retain the .com and .net DNS management (aka Registry)portion of the business. 

While I like the idea of seperation of the registrar from the registry, retention by Verisign of a significant stake in the registrar service and Verisign’s history cause me to be a bit skeptical, could this be an attempt at an end run around ICANN? Although I must admit that when a similar investment firm bought up the tail ends of one of my former employers they really did do a very good job of streamlining the company and returning it to profitability in a very tight and contracting market. MicronPC (now MPC) turned around by focusing on key products and listening to it’s customer base in a much more focused and responsive way. They aren’t what they were prior to Joel Koher, but they are steadily profitable and getting stronger by staying focused mainly on government and mid to large sized business contracts.

There are many more entries on Verisign available.

Posted by Eric at October 16, 2003 03:23 PM | TrackBack
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