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VeriSign goes back to basics

VeriSign plans to divest its communications, billing and commerce businesses so it can focus on its domain names, Web certificates and identity protection.The strategy, expected to be outlined Wednesday at an analyst meeting, will mean VeriSign will be more focused on what used to be its core business.

VeriSign plans to divest its communications, billing and commerce businesses so it can focus on its domain names, Web certificates and identity protection.

The strategy, expected to be outlined Wednesday at an analyst meeting, will mean VeriSign will be more focused on what used to be its core business. According to a statement the business units left standing will include:

  • Naming services: VeriSign operates the .com, .net and .tv Internet suffixes, but this business acquired via the Network Solutions acquisition in 2000 for about $21 billion. However, the domain name business is under intense competitive fire from the likes of GoDaddy.com and others. VeriSign said it will focus on building services around domain names and target international markets.
  • Web certificates: VeriSign is best known for its Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates to secure Internet transmissions.
  • Identity protection services: VeriSign offers services to authenticate and protect consumers' digital identities.

VeriSign currently reports results for two units. The Internet services group consists of the aforementioned units VeriSign will focus on. For the third quarter ended Sept. 30, VeriSign's Internet services group had revenue of $236 million, up 21 percent from a year ago. VeriSign cited demand for SSL certificates and domain name registrations.

The communications group, which will be divested, had revenue of $137.6 million in the third quarter, down 32 percent from a year ago. VeriSign's communications group provides managed connectivity, interoperability and database services. The group also offers content and commerce services.