- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 23, 1999

Network Solutions Inc., which runs the database that manages Internet addresses, said it's considering separating its business for registering names to be eligible to continue to operate the database for the federal government for another four years.
Network Solutions collects fees from other companies that register Internet names. The company was the sole source of addresses ending in .com, .net and .org, until the Clinton administration decided to introduce competition last year. Earlier this year it won an extension of the contract until 2003.
The Herndon, Va.,-based company plans to hire financial advisers on how to split the businesses. Network Solutions has controlled the registration of domains since 1993. Under agreements reached in November, the company was given 18 months to separate the businesses for the database contract to be extended until November 2007.
"If they lock in another four years, it gives them eight years. In Internet years it might as well be an eternity," said Bank of America Securities analyst David Scharf, who has a "buy" rating on Network Solutions.
Shares of the company rose $4.75 to $272.25 on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The stock has risen more than fourfold this year.
Network Solutions' contract to make sure that information on the Internet was routed correctly to the more than 6.5 million registered Internet names was to expire Sept. 30, 2000. The fee charged for annual registration of a name drops to $6 from $9, beginning Jan. 15. Other companies, including Register.Com and Domain Bank Inc., also register Internet names.
Network Solutions also said it will split its shares 2 for 1 and sell more shares. The company said the stock split date won't be set until the additional 7.73 million common shares are sold, which is expected to occur in January.
The company will sell 1 million shares and 6.7 million shares will be sold by closely held Science Applications International Corp., while 30,000 shares will be sold by other shareholders.
Science Applications, based in San Diego, will own about 23 percent of Network Solutions following the stock sale.
J.P. Morgan & Co. and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. will manage the share sale.
If Network Solutions doesn't separate its businesses by the end of the contract, then the agency that oversees the database will select a successor registry.

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