eBay to spin off Skype through IPO next year

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Over the weekend, rumors began to emerge that Skype’s founders, Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, were attempting to buy the company back from eBay after the latter acknowledged that it holds no true ties to its core business. Well, turns out that the online auction giant is indeed trying to unload the VoIP service it bought for $2.6 billion in 2005, but rather than selling it back to its founders, it will spin Skype off via an IPO next year.

Indeed the two businesses didn't share very much common ground and even the promised “click-to-call” feature that would connect buyers and sellers failed to make it to eBay. But that doesn’t mean Skype wasn’t doing well on its own. In fact, the business generated revenues of $551 million in 2008, which is a 44% increase year-over-year and represents a 21% profit margin for them – things look even rosier for the future as Skype makes its way into more mobile devices.

The precise timing of a Skype IPO will depend on market conditions, the company said, but it intends to complete the offering in the first half of 2010. This comes just a day after eBay sold StumbleUpon, a recommendation engine it bought two years ago for around $75 million.

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