VeriSign Unveils Plan to Sell Business Units

VeriSign, which runs the infrastructure that directs most of the world's Internet traffic, said Wednesday it plans to divest several businesses and focus on its Web-site-naming and Internet security services.


Businesses targeted for divestiture include VeriSign's communications, billing and commerce units, the company said. Once the strategy shift is completed, the company expects revenue growth, profit margins and net income "will be higher."

The company did not detail the timing of the strategic shift, its cost or how many jobs would be affected.

"Our company knows more about the Internet infrastructure than anyone else. (We) helped design the modern Internet -- thats our core competency. We are going to focus on that," said VeriSign Chief Executive Bill Roper.

He made the comments at VeriSign's analyst day meeting, which was broadcast over the Internet.

VeriSign runs one of the key pieces of the infrastructure that makes the Internet operate: "switchboards" that direct every piece of traffic to Web locations with a .com or .net at the end of their address.

Every time a Web surfer enters an Internet address, it first travels through a VeriSign server, which directs it to its final destination. The system also handles other types of Internet exchanges, including ones that are originated via computer or handle phone calls.