For some Zions Bancorp shareholders, the company's increasingly distressed proposed merger with First Security Corp. is just one more distraction from what they see as they real jewel in the crown: a Zions business unit that, if spun off, could quickly reach a market capitalization rivaling the parent company's.

The subsidiary - called Digital Signature Trust, or DST - is valued for its resemblance to other high-flying New Economy firms in the same business rather than for being a part of Zions. Mountain View, Calif.-based Verisign Inc., which is seen as the heavyweight in the digital signature crowd, has a market capitalization of $19.5 billion, dwarfing Zions', which is at $3.4 billion.

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