Expecting a convergence of the Internet and the public switched telephone network in the coming years, VeriSign Inc., a provider of Web identity, authentication, payment, and domain-name registration services, said last week it will acquire Illuminet Holdings Inc. for about $1.2 billion in stock. Illuminet provides networking and signaling services to more than 900 telecom carriers nationwide.
The acquisition will let VeriSign (VRSN-Nasdaq) deliver new data-voice services, such as enabling wireless phones to link specific numbers to domain names. "The Internet is a real-time communication network, [a convergence] of voice and data," Gartner principal analyst David Fraley says. "If VeriSign didn't pick up some voice expertise, it couldn't stay at the leading edge."