September 1, 2009
eBay Sells Skype
eBay has sold 65% of Skype, the free online and inexpensive web-phone application to a consortium of investors led by Silver Lake Partners. Other investors consortium include Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board. Expected to close near the end of 2009, the purchase values Skype at approximately $2.75 billion. eBay continuing to own 35% of Skype which it bought from original developers Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis in 2005 for $3.1 billion. eBay has been trying to unload Skype for over a year now. Though the application makes just under $600 million per year, it has not been the boon to eBay merchants it was originally expected to be. Earlier this year, eBay mused about a Skype IPO which would have effectively spun the application into its own company. There is no word from the new majority owners if IPO plans remain on the table. Three interesting side notes: 1/ Andreessen Horowitz is partially owned by Marc Andreessen, the developer who made the original Netscape web-browser and led the development team that created Firefox. 2/ Index Ventures was one of the original investors in Skype in early 2003. 3/ With approximately 410 million users, Skype added about 8% of eBay's $835 Billion in revenues last year. Sold for 2/3 of what eBay paid for it in 2005, Skype should pay for itself three to four years from now.