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VeriSign tops 4Q estimates

    VeriSign (Nasdaq: VRSN) blasted past analyst expectations in the fourth quarter.

    After market close Wednesday, the domain name registrar and provider of Internet security services reported fourth quarter net income of $45.5 million, or 21 cents per share, excluding goodwill writedowns and acquisition-related charges. First Call's survey of 25 analysts predicted a profit of 11 cents per share for the quarter ended Dec. 31.

    Shares of VeriSign traded at 80.8125 in afterhours activity on the Island ECN, immediately following the release of quarterly results. VeriSign stock shot up 7 to 81.5 in Wednesday's regular trading ahead of the earnings report.

    Including amortization and other charges, VeriSign lost 1.3 billion, or $6.64 per share.

    Fourth quarter revenue increased 613 percent year-over-year to $197.4 million, easily besting First Call's consensus forecast of $189.4 million.

    VeriSign in the fourth quarter sold more than 85,000 Web site certificates, up 135 percent year-over-year and up 13 percent sequentially. The company added 5,600 customers for its payment services. VeriSign's NSI Registrar unit registered about 1.9 million domain names, and renewed or extended another 650,000.

    For the full 2000, VeriSign earned $129.1 million, or 72 cents per share, before goodwill costs. Annual revenue rose 460 percent to $474.8 million.

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