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Uniregistry, TLDH strike deal to run .country

Two companies will take equal equity in joint venture to run .country top level domain name.

The two applicants for the top level domain name .country have entered into an agreement to partner, rather than fight, over .country.

Top Level Domain Holdings issued a press release this morning announcing the deal between its company and Frank Schilling’s company, Uniregistry.

This is the first publicly announced agreement that will resolve a contention set, as no other companies applied for .country.

Under the terms of the deal, both companies will get a 50% stake in a new company to which the .country contract with ICANN will be transferred.

ICANN has encouraged competitors to work out their differences in a way that would not require substantial changes to the original application to run a TLD. It appears the companies believe they’ve found a way to do this:

Under the conditional heads of terms for the proposed joint venture, either Uniregistry or TLDH will withdraw its application and, once the surviving applications is approved by ICANN, the authority to operate .country will be transferred to the new joint venture. The transfer will require ICANN approval, which the directors of the Company fully expect to be forthcoming.

Both TLDH and Uniregistry representatives have said they won’t participate in private auctions, one of the ways to resolve a contention set prior to an ICANN auction, due to concerns about antitrust violations.

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