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VeriSign Gains on Higher Domain Name Registrations in Q3

Zacks Equity Research

VeriSign’s VRSN latest The Domain Name Industry Brief report stated that domain name registrations increased 5.1 million or 1.4% sequentially to 359.8 million across top-level domains (TLDs) at the end of the third quarter. Domain name registrations increased 17.4 million or 5.1% year over year.

On a combined basis, .com and .net TLDs increased 3.8% year over year and 0.8% sequentially to 157.4 million at the end of the third quarter. Notably, Verisign is the exclusive registrar of the .com, .net and .name domains per its agreements with The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Notably, VeriSign benefits from its “exclusive” contract with ICANN for .com, .net and .name generic top-level domains (gTLDs). It is the sole registry operator for the .com and .net domain names through Nov 30, 2024 and Jun 30, 2023, respectively.

Additionally, for the .com domain, VeriSign has to abide by a co-operative agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC).

Per Amendment 35 to the agreement (dated Oct 26, 2018), VeriSign can raise the maximum price for a .com domain without further DOC approval by 7% in the final four years of each six-year period (the latest six-year period began on Oct 26, 2018).

In third-quarter 2019, revenues increased 0.9% from the year-ago quarter to $308.4 million. The company anticipates preliminary renewal rate to be 73.6%, down from 74.8% reported in the year-ago quarter.

VeriSign has returned 28.2% on a year-to-date basis compared with the S&P 500’s rally of 26.1%.

Year-to-Date Performance

 


New Registrations Details

As of Sep 30, 2019, the .com domain name base totaled 144 million domain name registrations. The .net domain name base registrations totaled 13.4 million.

New .com and .net registrations were 9.9 million at the end of the third quarter compared with 9.5 million in the year-ago quarter.

VeriSign stated that in English, Christmas, was the top-trending keyword in .com domain, trailed by jumbo and diabetes. For .net domain, customer was the top-trending keyword.

Moreover, New gTLD (ngTLD) domain name registrations increased 4% sequentially and 2.4% year over year to 24 million. The top 10 ngTLDs represented 58.8% of all ngTLD domain name registrations.

As of Sep 30, 2019, there were 47 ngTLDs delegated that have a geographical focus and more than 1,000 domain name registrations since entering general availability (GA).

Country Code Top-Level Domains Increase

Total country code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs) increased 8.4% year over year and 2% sequentially to 161.8 million. Excluding .tk, ccTLD domain name registrations increased 0.4% sequentially and 6.9% year over year.

As of Sep 30, 2019, the top 10 ccTLDs were .tk,.cn,.de, .uk, .tw, .nl, .ru, .br, .eu and.fr.

Moreover, there were 305 global ccTLD extensions delegated in the root zone including Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs), with the top 10 ccTLDs comprising 66.2% of all ccTLD domain name registrations.

VeriSign Revises Domain Name Base Growth Guidance

VeriSign now anticipates domain name base growth rate to increase between 3.2% and 3.7%, up from the prior guidance of 3-4.25%. The rise in Internet domain name registrations is expected to help the company achieve this target comfortably.

Moreover, 2019 revenues are expected to be in the range of $1.228-$1.233 billion compared with the earlier-guided figure of $1.225-$1.235 billion.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

VeriSign currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Some other top-ranked stocks in the broader computer & technology include Perficient PRFT, CACI International CACI and ManTech International MANT. While Perficient sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), both CACI International and ManTech carry a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Long-term earnings growth rate for Perficient, CACI International and ManTech is pegged at 11.8%, 10% and 8%, respectively.

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