Public Interest Registry notifies ICANN that the deal is dead.
Even though all parties had already said this publicly, Public Interest Registry (PIR) made it official today: the transaction for Ethos Capital to acquire Public Interest Registry has been terminated.
The registry for .org domains sent a letter (pdf) to ICANN today informing it of the termination.
The letter states, “While we reserve all of our legal rights, we will not be pursuing an ICANN Request for Reconsideration or taking any other action to try to revive the Transaction.”
I’m not sure what legal rights it would pursue, but this might be an effort to head off any talk of transferring the .org registry to another party. In a message linking to the letter, PIR CEO Jon Nevett noted:
…because a sale to Ethos was not “consummated” after the ICANN rejection, the door is closed on ICANN transferring .ORG to any other registry operator. Such a transfer by ICANN is a contractual impossibility under our registry agreement.
I believe he is correct. The contract between PIR and ICANN states:
…any consummated change of control shall not be voidable by ICANN; provided, however, that, if ICANN reasonably determines to withhold its consent to such transaction, ICANN may terminate this Agreement pursuant to Section 4.3(g)…
This seems to say that ICANN can terminate the agreement if it withholds consent and PIR still goes through with the change of control. It could be written more clearly, though.
Nevertheless, there have been some calls in the community to strip Internet Society and PIR of the .org contract.