Security Deal Boosts VerticalNet, VeriSign

Online business-to-business exchange VerticalNet (Nasdaq: VERT) and digital authentication firm VeriSign (Nasdaq: VRSN) rose Monday afterthe two companies announced that VeriSign will provide the exchange with a package of security services for online transactions.

VeriSign gained 4 1/64 to 116, and VerticalNet picked up 9/32 to 9 1/4.

VeriSign, based in Mountain View, California, provides Internet services, including authentication of buyers and suppliers through the use of digital certificates and online payment processing. Horsham, Pennsylvania-basedVerticalNet operates online marketplaces for businesses.

The deal makes VeriSign’s services available on VerticalNet’s 57-plusexchanges, and calls for the companies to collaborate on marketing and ondeveloping new e-commerce services for businesses.

VerticalNet president Joe Galli said that the partnership with VeriSign will result in VerticalNet’s buyers and suppliers “knowing that the other party hasbeen authenticated, that payments are being processed securely and thattransaction detail is being recorded in a trusted, undisputed manner.”

The deal makes VeriSign the exclusive provider of authentication and digitalcertificate services to VerticalNet, and the preferred provider of paymentservices for all VerticalNet communities.

VeriSign president and chief executive officer Stratton Sclavos said that as businesses continue to cut costs and reach new markets via onlineexchanges and marketplaces, the ability to identify each other, reliablyprocess payments and obtain digital proof that a transaction hasoccurred are “the keys to spontaneous commerce.”

VeriSign shares are below their 52-week high of 258 1/2, but still abovetheir 52-week low of 75 9/16. VerticalNet shares are trading between theiryear’s high of 148 3/8 and low of 7 1/2.

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