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Will Network Solutions go public?

Network Solutions, which registers domain names for the Internet, considers launching an initial public offering.

Network Solutions, which holds a government contract to register domain names for the Internet, is considering launching an initial public offering, company officials said today.

They noted, however, that it's one of several options under consideration.

"An IPO is something that we have been considering for several months, but it's one of several solutions we're looking at to fund future business opportunities," said David Graves, Net Solutions' Internet business manager told CNET.

He declined to comment on Network Solutions' future business plans that would call for an infusion of cash.

The company was purchased by Science Applications International in March and operates as a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Network was purchased to build up SAIC's information technology business. SAIC is in a variety of engineering and science research businesses that include energy, transportation, and space.

"We think we have been able to deliver what (SAIC) has expected of us," Graves said.

Network Solutions, in addition to handling worldwide registration for the Internet, also has experience in local and wide area networks. The company, however, has recently focused on intranet consulting and networking management.

SAIC does not break out revenue figures for Network Solutions, SAIC spokeswoman Jane Van Ryan said.

The registration company charges $100 to log a new domain name and then a $50 annual fee to maintain it. Network Solutions, at the end of August, had 550,000 names registered and added 60,000 in the month of August alone, Van Ryan said.

SAIC saw profits increase by 16 percent to $57 million for fiscal 1996 over the previous year. Its first quarter profits rose to $13 million for the period ending April 30, compared with net earnings of $12.8 million a year earlier.

In addressing a possible spin-off of Network Solutions, Van Ryan said "no decision has been made concerning any of the options available to the company."