Skype founders seeking to reacquire company from eBay

By on April 12, 2009, 8:27 AM
Skype's co-founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis are reportedly approaching private equity firms in an attempt to collect resources for a buy-back of the software company they sold to eBay back in 2005 for $2.6 billion, which later amounted to some $3.1 billion via bonus payouts.

Not surprisingly, eBay’s chief executive John Donahoe has openly suggested that he is willing to sell it for the right price, acknowledging that it holds no true ties to eBay’s core business functions and even called Skype a “great standalone business”.

Despite the lack of synergy between Skype and eBay, Skype is doing well in their hands, having generated $126 million in the first quarter, up 61 percent from a year ago, and is expected to generate $500 million in revenues this year. While official negotiations have yet to commence, analysts estimate that eBay is looking for at least $1.7 billion, the value of Skype after writing off a portion of the acquisition in 2007.

Since selling Skype, Zennstrom and Friis have created the venture capital firm Atomico and backed the online video service Joost.

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