The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has approved Microsoft's planned acquisition of Skype, according to Reuters. The news means the software giant has won US antitrust approval for the deal, thought it remains to be seen if Microsoft will get the same green light in other geographic jurisdictions, such as Europe.
At the same time, Skype is reportedly firing senior executives before the deal closes, a move that reduces the value of their payout. Vice Presidents David Gurle, Christopher Dean, Russ Shaw, and Don Albert were dismissed from the Luxembourg-based company, as were Chief Marketing Officer Doug Bewsher and Anne Gillespie, head of human resources, and executives Ramu Sunkara and Allyson Campa, from the 2011 Qik purchase. The sackings are not public, and come from three people familiar with the matter cited by Bloomberg.
When a company gets bought out, compensation is often tied to the purchase price, but if the employees are fired first, this doesn't happen. The timing of the dismissals means stock options will be worth less than if the executives stayed until the closing of the deal. "As part of a recent internal shift, Skype has made some management changes," a Skype spokesperson said in a statement.
Following rumors that Google, Facebook, and Microsoft were all interested in the Skype, the software giant swooped in. Last month, Microsoft announced that it was acquiring Skype for $8.5 billion in cash. The deal was approved by the boards of directors of both companies, and is Microsoft's largest acquisition to date.
Instead of buying Skype and then trying to integrate its employees throughout Microsoft, the software giant is going to let the service operate as an independent business unit. Skype CEO Tony Bates will be the president of the Microsoft Skype Division. This should hopefully mean Skype will not be restricted from pushing forward.
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