VeriSign tanks as Commerce restrains pricing

Registry maintains monopoly but can't set price

Not the news they were hoping for

Regulators renewed VeriSign's status as the world's biggest Internet registry operator but constrained its ability to raise prices, sending the company's shares tumbling Friday. By renewing the company's authorization, the U.S. Department of Commerce allowed VeriSign to continue to charge for its service of registering domain names using the ubiquitous .com suffix, part of the Reston, Virginia, company's agreement with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a world-wide decision-making body for the web.

The declaration formally affirmed VeriSign's main source of revenue through Nov. 30, 2018, while constricting its ability to raise prices, ending a plan that would have allowed the company four automatic price increases of up to 7% during the term. Instead, VeriSign must ask for Commerce Department permission if it wants to raise prices to cover extraordinary costs from security or stability threats. The company also can ask for price increases justified by new consensus policies created by the broader Internet community.

VeriSign (VRSN : NASDAQ : US$34.15), Net Change: -5.19, % Change: -13.19%, Volume: 45,119,373

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