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July 7, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 1:08pm

NSI GOES FOR IPO WHILE THE GOING’S GOOD

By CBR Staff Writer

Network Solutions Inc, the Herndon, Virginia company with the monopoly for registering the top-level domain names (TLDs) .com, .net and .org, has filed for an initial public offering to raise about $35m. The company is not disclosing how many shares it’s going to offer what price it is looking for yet. The company’s contract with the federal National Science foundation (NSF) expires at the end of March 1998, and the NSF has no plans to renew it or offer any other company a similar contract. The whole TLD registry process is up in the air right now. The US Commerce Department last week launched a request for comments to try and sport out what is increasingly becoming an acrimonious dispute in the internet community. This move by NSI is surely a case of making hay while the sun shines for the company, which also does network systems integration. NSI has vowed to carry on registering the domain names it has rights to plus others after its NSF contract expires, which is a perfectly legitimate business plan, but other companies will be able to do exactly the same thing. NSI’s differentiator, it believes, is that it has been doing it the longest and has the systems in place to maintain the registries. But it has many detractors in the internet community, especially regarding its domain name dispute resolution policy, which comes into effect when two companies go after the same or very similar names. NSI charges $100 for two years’ domain name registration, plus $50 for each renewal. It had registered 818,000 names to the end of March this year, up from 246,000 the same time last year. Net profits for the first quarter this year were $516,000, against losses last time of $1.1m, on revenues that rose to $8.7m from $2.3m in the same period last year. Hambrecht & Quist, JP Morgan & Co and Paine Webber Inc will underwrite the offer. Further details about the offering will come in future filings with the Securities & Exchange Commission.

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