So, what’s up with Skype? Good question. The VoIP service (news, site) has certainly been through the wringer lately, especially with what was originally intended to be an expansion of the service turning into an all out licensing war between eBay and Skype founders over the core code.
Fans of the platform have been waiting for someone to make a move, and now it’s here in the form of a sale. A US$ 2.7 billion sale.
Skype is now (mostly) in the hands of an investor group lead by Silver Lake. The group, which includes Index Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, will reportedly take 65% stake while the remaining 35% stays with eBay.
A numbers breakdown shows eBay will bank approximately US$ 1.9 billion in cash and a note from the buyer in the principal amount of US$ 125 million, totaling at US $2.025 billion. With likelihood of a coming IPO, the parties value Skype at a total of US$ 2.7 billion.
eBay initially bought Skype for US$ 2.6 billion back in 2005 when their dreams of boosting their e-commerce to all new heights via real-time chat were still shiny and new. The sale acknowledges just how much online shoppers do not wish to communicate.
"Skype is a strong standalone business, but it does not have synergies with our e-commerce and online payments businesses," said eBay President and CEO John Donahoe. "As a separate company, we believe that Skype will have the focus required to compete effectively in online voice and video communications and accelerate its growth momentum."
Silver Lake believes in a silver lining. Said Egon Durban, managing director at Silver Lake in a recent statement: "This transaction […] will allow Skype the opportunity to accelerate the growth of its business by harnessing the deep technological and company development expertise that resides within the investor group.”
Of course, it’s good to be positive about something you just paid 2 billion dollars for, but let’s not forget the whole licensing affair. As far as we know, the peeved founders of Skype are still threatening to cut off the key peer-to-peer technology that powers the platform, and they’ve made public their interest in re-buying their company.
In fact, there's been some buzz around the blogosphere about whether or not the founders are actually a part of this sale. Keep up with us here and let’s find out.