Verisign selling NSI (not really)

CBS MarketWatch: Verisign to Sell Network Solutions to Pivotal Private Equity
Wow. $100 million, of which only $60 million is cash, for 85%
of an asset
they paid $20 billion for. I wonder if the recent SiteFinder
brouhaha had anything to do with this. The deal must have been in
process before SiteFinder launched and was suspended, but I have to
believe the imbroglio affected Verisign’s willingness to sell.
Verisign wants to be the key player in Internet security and identity,
which requires trust. NSI was increasingly a drag on that

So, who the heck is Pivotal Private Equity? According to this, they
are a subsidiary of a Phoenix-based real estate investment firm.
Both Verisign and NSI’s former parent SAIC clearly understood the
importance of the domain name system, and had the resources to play the
high-stakes political and business game it is at the center of. A
private equity firm that sees NSI purely as a financial asset to turn
around may be tempted to make deals that are damaging to the Internet
and Internet governance, without fully appreciating the

UPDATE: Reading Verisign’s press release more carefully, I see that what they are actually selling is the registrar function of NSI (the one that registers domain names for end-users), and not the registry function
(managing the central .com database and associated core
infrastructure).  At first glance, separating the two functions
would seem to remove a key conflict of interest that has dogged NSI for
some time.  On the other hand, freeing Verisign from the registrar
function might allow it to extend its efforts, like SiteFinder, to
leverage the true monopoly element of the current domain name