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VeriSign buys RFID consulting boutique

Company steps further into world of electronic IDs with acquisition of R4 Global Solutions for $15 million.

VeriSign has purchased technology consulting firm R4 Global Solutions for $15 million, expanding its presence in the emerging radio-frequency identification market.

The company completed the all-cash deal on Wednesday. It expects the transaction to be neutral to its earnings per share for the year.

R4 Global Solutions has 26 employees with headquarters in San Francisco. It specializes in helping businesses use RFID technology to monitor their supplies and prevent inventory snags. Its clients include Levi Strauss, McKesson and Land O'Lakes.

Major retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores, have given RFID technology a substantial boost recently, requiring suppliers to outfit merchandise with RFID gear.

VeriSign became more involved in the market last year when an RFID standards organization, EPCglobal, selected the company to run its global network directory. The directory is designed to let participating companies look up and update merchandise data on the Internet using codes stored on RFID chips--a system that could someday replace the barcode.