VeriSign 3Q profit rises on higher revenue

RESTON, Va. -- VeriSign Inc., which registers domain names on the Internet, said Thursday that third-quarter profit rose 32 percent, topping expectations.

But it said that the U.S. Commerce Department might not finish reviewing the company's registry agreement before it expires Nov. 30. That could trigger a six-month extension under terms of the agreement.

VeriSign's shares lost 9 cents to $46.60 in regular trading, then dropped $7.10, or 15.2 percent, to $39.50 in after-hours trading after the earnings report and update on the registry agreement.

The agency that oversees Internet addresses, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, approved a renewal of VeriSign's contract earlier this year, but it is being reviewed by the Commerce Department. The contract includes operating a data base that helps in finding websites and routing email.

VeriSign's third-quarter net income was $77.9 million, or 47 cents per share, compared with $58.9 million, or 36 cents per share, a year earlier.

The company said that excluding costs of stock-based compensation and other special items it would have earned 50 cents per share. Analysts, who usually exclude items, expected 49 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue rose 13 percent to $223.5 million, virtually matching the analysts' forecast.