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VeriSign Secures Signio, Thawte Consulting

To beef up the security of its online trust services, VeriSign Inc. Monday spent more than $1.3 billion to acquire Signio Inc. and Thawte Consulting.

Both stock exchanges, Signio will cost VeriSign (VRSN) about $784 million while Thawte's price tag is $575 million.

For Verisign, Signio brings to the table its secure payment-services, which connect online merchants, B2B exchanges, payment processors and financial institutions on the Internet.

Signio's payment platform enables a Web site to transform into an online storefront in a matter of minutes. Unlike some other HTTP-based payment solutions, Signio's service maintains data securely during the entire authorization process, providing a risk and trouble free transaction.

Signio will lend Verisign the following services:

  • Seamless and immediate deployment of payment services for virtually every payment type -- including credit cards, debit cards, automated clearinghouse transactions and Internet checks
  • Unlimited credit card and Internet check transactions for a flat monthly rate
  • Connectivity with more payment processors than any other solution in the industry
  • Integrated fraud screening and risk management in partnership with eHNC
  • Integration with major shopping carts and leading B2C and B2B platforms

"VeriSign and Signio are a natural fit both in terms of our complementary services as well as in the types of markets we serve," said Philippe Courtot, Signio's chairman and chief executive officer. "By linking Signio's payment services with VeriSign's widely-recognized brand, sizeable customer base and global network of resellers and affiliates, we can now further accelerate market adoption of our payment platform."

Thawte Consulting is an online digital certificate provider based in South Africa. Upon Thawte's incorporation, VeriSign will be able to implement a consistent set of global standards for the issuance and management of digital certificates for Web sites and software developers. VeriSign currently serves all of the Top 40 e-commerce sites and Fortune 500 companies with a Web presence, and thousands of other sites with its range of Secure Site, Global Site and Code-Signing and certificate services.

Thawte has built a franchise through an agent network in over 22 countries around the world. Together, the companies have more than 3,300 ISPs, ASPs and Web Hosting companies acting as resellers of their services. They are the only two digital certificate providers with commercial availability of 128-bit Web site certificates, which enable highly strong encryption in both domestic and export versions of browsers.

"We are thrilled to join forces with VeriSign to enable a worldwide foundation for e-commerce," said Mark Shuttleworth, president and chief executive officer of Thawte Consulting. "By combining our respective operations, teams and customer bases, we will be able to serve a broader set of customers under on common set of trust principles across the Internet."

VeriSign Inc. provides Internet trust services -- including authentication, validation and payment -- needed by Web sites, enterprises and e-commerce service providers to conduct secure electronic commerce and communications over IP networks.

In August, VerisSign introduced Go Secure! for Web Applications, a tool for enterprises to utilize digital certificates for secure intranet and extranet applications without requiring proprietary client software or hardware.

"With Thawte, we are looking to extend our leadership in the industry with the incorporation of the No. 2 provider of digital certificates, which will appeal to small businesses looking to secure Web sites," said