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Dot money : #Verisign reports its Q1 2020 financial performance

Verisign operators of .com and .net.

Verisign, managers under contract for the .COM and .NET domain names, reported its financial performance for the first quarter of this year (Q1/2020.)

Parts of the press release follow:

VeriSign, Inc. and its subsidiaries (“Verisign”) reported revenue of $313 million for the first quarter of 2020, up 2.0 percent from the same quarter in 2019.

Verisign reported net income of $334 million and diluted earnings per share (diluted “EPS”) of $2.86 for the first quarter of 2020, compared to net income of $163 million and diluted EPS of $1.35 for the same quarter in 2019.

The operating margin was 66.0 percent for the first quarter of 2020 compared to 65.4 percent for the same quarter in 2019.

Net income for the first quarter of 2020 included the recognition of $168 million of previously unrecognized income tax benefits. This resulted from remeasurement of Verisign’s accrual for uncertain tax positions based on IRS written confirmation indicating no examination adjustment would be proposed related to its audit of the worthless stock deduction taken in 2013. Notwithstanding this written confirmation, Verisign’s U.S. federal income tax returns remain under examination by the IRS for 2010 through 2014. This income tax benefit also increased diluted EPS by $1.44.

Financial Highlights

  • Verisign ended the first quarter of 2020 with cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities of $1.14 billion, a decrease of $79 million from the end of 2019.
  • Cash flow from operating activities was $180 million for the first quarter of 2020, compared to $187 million for the same quarter in 2019.
  • Deferred revenues as of March 31, 2020 totaled $1.06 billion, an increase of $23 million from the end of 2019.
  • During the first quarter of 2020, Verisign repurchased 1.3 million shares of its common stock for an aggregate cost of $245 million. As of March 31, 2020, there was $826 million remaining for future share repurchases under the share repurchase program which has no expiration date.

Business Highlights

  • On March 27, 2020, Verisign announced that it and ICANN entered into the Third Amendment to the .com Registry Agreement which, among other changes, permits Verisign to increase the price of .com domain name registrations by up to 7% over the previous year, in each of the final four years of each six-year period. The first such six-year period began on October 26, 2018. However, in view of the current COVID-19 crisis, Verisign announced on March 25, 2020, that it will freeze registry prices for all of its Top-Level Domains (TLDs), including .com and .net, through the end of 2020.
  • During the first quarter, Todd Strubbe was promoted from Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer to President and Chief Operating Officer, further strengthening Verisign’s senior management team.
  • Verisign ended the first quarter of 2020 with 160.7 million .com and .net domain name registrations in the domain name base, a 3.8 percent increase from the end of the first quarter of 2019, and a net increase of 1.83 million during the first quarter of 2020.
  • During the first quarter of 2020, Verisign processed 10.0 million new domain name registrations for .com and .net, compared to 9.8 million for the same quarter in 2019.
  • The final .com and .net renewal rate for the fourth quarter of 2020 was 73.8 percent compared with 74.3 percent for the same quarter in 2018. Renewal rates are not fully measurable until 45 days after the end of the quarter.

Some slides from the presentation during today’s conference call:

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