EBay Plans IPO for Skype Business in First Half of 2010

April 15, 2009

(ChattahBox) — Ebay will spin off it’s Internet calling service Skype, that it bought for $2.6 billion in 2005, in an initial public offering in 2010, but has fallen short of expectations. Shares of eBay jumped 4.3% to $15 in after-hours trading and have lost more than a third of their value since September.

The move comes after recent rumors that former Skype owners Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis,might be preparing to buy their company back. Skype made $145 million in revenues for the fourth quarter of 2008, and boasts 405 million users, up sharply from the 53 million registered users at the time of its sale. Recently Skype launched an application for the Apple iPhone, allowing iPhone users to take advantage of the service. Despite those positive steps, EBay has admitted, that Skype has few synergies with its core e-commerce and payments businesses.

In the release, Ebay chief executive John Donohue said that there were “limited synergies” between the company and Ebay’s main business, a contention that had been made by many industry watchers since the acquisition was first announced. Donahoe said separating Skype, a software application that allows users to make telephone calls over the Internet, would allow eBay to focus entirely on its other two core growth engines – e-commerce and online payments.

The move also comes a day after the founders of StumbleUpon, a Web recommendation engine that Ebay bought for $75 million in 2007, announced that they were buying the service back.


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