EBay is expanding its online payments business with the $370m (£218m) acquisition of the VeriSign service.
EBay will use the acquisition to expand its existing PayPal online payments service to more small and medium-sized enterprises. VeriSign currently uses the service to support smaller firms’ credit card and other payments on-line.
For VeriSign, the sale is somewhat of a reversal to its ongoing marketing campaign to demonstrate it is more than a digital certificates and web administration company.
VeriSign recently entered the e-mail filtering business to help secure companies’ networks from the likes of spam and viruses, and was previously seen as a company likely to expand in other areas, rather than sell off different businesses.
The VeriSign payment gateway system is said to have processed more than $40bn in customer transactions in 2004. As part of the deal to buy the business, eBay will use VeriSign to provide digital certificates to merchants to protect them against identity theft.