VeriSign to acquire Network Solutions in $21b deal

The combined company will be able to deliver a broad range of Internet infrastructure services required for electronic commerce, from establishing an online presence to delivering authentication and secure transaction services, the companies said in a joint statement.

Under the terms of the agreement, VeriSign will issue 2.15 shares of its common stock for each share of Network Solutions stock as constituted prior to the planned two-for-one split of Network Solutions stock on Friday, the companies said.

Valued at about $21 billion based on Monday's closing price of VeriSign common stock, the transaction has already been approved by both companies' boards of directors, but is still subject to approval by VeriSign and Network Solutions stockholders, according to the statement.

The acquisition is expected to close in this year's third quarter, subject to customary conditions such as obtaining necessary regulatory approvals, the companies said.

Once the transaction is complete, Network Solutions will become a subsidiary of VeriSign, with Jim Rutt continuing to serve as Network Solutions' chief executive officer. Rutt will report to VeriSign President and CEO Stratton Sclavos, the companies said.

VeriSign provides online authentication, payment and validation services aimed to secure e-commerce transactions.

Network Solutions, meanwhile, is one of the Internet's leading domain name registrars and the exclusive registry and provider of .com, .net, and .org. registration services to 34 domain name registrars worldwide.

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Terho Uimonen

PC World

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