Attempt to Sell .Org Domain Name System to Private-Equity Group Is Tossed
NOT FOR SALE
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the nonprofit that oversees the Internet’s domain-name system, has rejected a controversial proposal to sell the .org domain to a private-equity group for more than $1 billion. The .org domain registry is presently run by the Public Interest Registry (PIR), a subsidiary of another nonprofit called the Internet Society. Last fall, the Internet Society stunned the nonprofit world by announcing it would sell PIR—and, effectively, ownership of the .org domain—to a new and secretive firm called Ethos Capital for more than $1 billion. Ethos Capital was planning to do a leveraged buyout of the .org registry, requiring the PIR to take out a $360 million loan to help finance the transaction. “The incurrence of this debt was not for the benefit of PIR or the .org community, but for the financial interests of the Internet Society, Ethos Capital, and other investors in the transaction,” ICANN’s board wrote.