Posted September 1, 2009 7:34 am by with 8 comments

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skype-logoThe New York Times is reporting that eBay has a deal to sell Skype thus ending a rather tragic acquisition saga that began in 2005 when eBay ‘won’ in their fight with Google and Yahoo to buy the Internet phone service. Since that time the original deal which was for $3.1 billion has resulted in a $900 million write-down by eBay and more than its share of problems including a lawsuit in a British court over a core peer to peer technology with Skype founders.

So who are the new owners?

The investment group is likely to include Andreessen Horowitz, a new venture capital firm headed by the Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen, these people said. One of the people added that Index Ventures, a London-based venture capital firm that was an early investor in Skype, and the private equity firm Silver Lake Partners were also involved. A price was not disclosed, but eBay has said it wants around $2 billion for Skype, which is on track to take in more than $600 million in revenue this year.

Skype has been surrounded by speculation of a public offering in 2010, possible sale back to its founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis via investment firms and the Times even reports that Google was involved with talks regarding the service as recently as a month ago. Google got cold feet, however, regarding the possible legal actions against Skype could expose the search giant to some serious financial hits. In addition,

Google also worried that owning Skype might alienate wireless carriers, which offer their customers phones running Google’s Android software, the person said.

The Times article wraps up with the idea that maybe the founders are involved in this deal in some way which would make the legal concerns go away but that is not clear at this time. One has to think that if that were a possibility it would certainly be worth the effort to make happen.

So we don’t know what will happen to Skype. I would be upset if it changed significantly or was forced to change by the courts. One thing I have learned though as of late is that nothing, and the heavy emphasis on nothing, stays the same for very long in this world. The Internet space proves that every day.

  • This statement: “One thing I have learned though as of late is that nothing, and the heavy emphasis on nothing, stays the same for very long in this world. The Internet space proves that every day.” Really stood out for me. What are the implications of that? Is our focus too much on the fleeting sites/products/tools that will “change the way we do everything?” Is this a sign that we should keep our finger on the pulse of change, but keep our hands and heads wrapped around the core of what makes content work? In a world where things change (seemingly) overnight, we can’t seem to stay “right” for long. Or does this just mean that this industry – more than any other – is about lifelong learning, adapting to change and continually keeping our pencils sharp? Oh yeah, and specifically about the deal, Skype seems to be a lot like the rookie prospect who’s value keeps going up based on projections, but we haven’t really seen him play yet. I think e-Bay would be better served developing a future for Skype rather than mortgaging their own.
    .-= andrew´s last blog ..Is this a test poll question? =-.

  • Sound cool to me. I have been using Skype, and I really appreciate the free Skype to Skype calls. I have a family abroad and I thank Skype because it helps me get closer with my family. If selling Skype will benefit everybody, then this is one great news.

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  • Seems like a good deal for Ebay. Is this good or bad for Skype? I love Skype, and would hate to see it go down in quality.

  • PS3

    Wow, a $900 million write down is huge even by eBay’s standards, no wonder they are upping their auction fees!

  • I use Skype and I love it. The rates are reasonable too. This situation might be the end of Skype. If these so-called investors are greedy (and they usually are), the calling rates for Skype will no doubt rise and people will abandon Skype for something else. Sadly, this might be the beginning of the end for Skype. (my previous post didn’t “hit” for some reason).

  • This is good news for eBay but not so sure for Skype users. I was baffled when eBay bought Skype. They said buyers and sellers could connect and talk about an auction. On some big ticket items maybe – but if I am selling a textbook do I want people buzzing me on skype. I can see why this never took off.
    .-= Dave´s last blog ..How to Make Money with Adwords – 5 Steps to Get Rich =-.

  • Jake Smith

    Skype is indeed a boon for consumers as well as businesses. The recent “Skype for businesses” competition revealed some great ways in which businesses are using Skype to improve working –