RealTime IT News

Verisign Sells Domain Registration Biz

Verisign on Thursday announced the sale of its consumer-facing Network Solutions domain registration unit to Pivotal Private Equity in a deal valued at $100 million.

Less than a year after relaunching the Network Solutions TLD registration brand, Verisign is exiting the business to focus on its core Internet and telco infrastructure units.

Since acquiring Network Solutions in a massive $21 billion deal in 2000, the Mountain View, Calif.-based Verisign has struggled with the domain registration side of the business. Over the years, the company has been at the receiving end of harsh customer service complaints and accusations of overly aggressive marketing, including recent backlash against the controversial SiteFinder service.

In a statement, Verisign made it clear that Thursday's cash-and-stock transaction involved only the registration unit. Verisign retains the infrastructure side of the business, which includes control of the lucrative .NET and .COM registries.

Terms of the deal call for Pivotal Private Equity to shell out $60 million in cash and a $40 million subordinated note for the registrar. Verisign retains a 15 percent stake in Network Solutions. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter this year.

Officials at Pivotal Private Equity could not be reached to comment on plans for the Network Solutions registrar. The Phoenix-based real estate developer recently formed a subsidiary to purchase middle-market purchases and recapitalizations of under-performing tech companies. The subsidiary was set up to pursue deals in the range of $10 million to $100 million, which is the high end of the Network Solutions purchase.