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Tuesday, 7 March, 2000, 17:18 GMT
Dot.com registrar sold for $21bn
Netowrk Solutions webpage
Network Solutions pioneered domain registration
Internet domain name registrar Network Solutions has been bought in a $21bn deal by web security firm VeriSign.

The two US businesses have worked closely together in the past, and the acquisition was negotiated in just four days.

"The companies were spending a lot of time together because we were working on mutual projects," said VeriSign president and chief executive Stratton Sclavos.

"We were spending so much time together we began to think about ways we could combine."

Jim Rutt, chief executive of Network Solutions, said the link-up was a natural evolution.

VeriSign logo
VeriSign: Provides internet security
"Combining the two most trusted brands in internet infrastructure provides millions of businesses and consumers with the confidence to conduct a broad range of e-commerce activities, from their first online experience to high value transactions and advanced communications," he said.

Network Solutions was founded in 1979 and is based in Virginia. Until recently it held a monopoly on assigning and recording domain names - those ending in dot.com, dot.org and dot.net.

This exclusive right was granted through an agreement with the US Government in 1993.

While it took a year to handle the first 1 million names, the company was soon able to deal with 1 million in just 11 weeks.

It now has 8 million customers, administered through a network of associated companies.

Since last year, management of the domain name system has been one of the responsibilities of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

With the onset of competition, Network Solutions began selling additional services, such as setting up websites and security systems.

Privacy concerns

VeriSign, based in California, provides security systems for commerce and communications over the internet.

Concern about security and privacy on the net has been heightened by the growing number of web transactions and also the recent high-profile attacks by hackers on well-known sites.

"With one of the largest subscriber bases on the internet, VeriSign and Network Solutions will have the scale and range of services to take e-commerce to the next level," said Mr Sclavos.

He added that the deal would result in significant charges, possibly as high as $20bn, which would be paid off over the next five years.

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See also:

02 Dec 99 |  Business
The $7.5m net address
30 Jul 99 |  The Company File
EU Internet address inquiry
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