Skype is finally about to be sold by Ebay to an investor group, which includes Andreessen Horowitz, the new VC firm headed by Marc Andreessen, reports NYT, citing sources. The deal will be announced tomorrow, it says. The possible buyout was first reported by Techcrunch on Friday last week. The investor group also is said to include Index Ventures, the VC firm that was an early investor in Skype the startup way back then, and PE firm Silver Lake Partners. Ebay has been looking for about $2 billion as the price for the company that’s making about $600 million a year in revenues. That’s compared to the $3.1 billion buyout of the company by Ebay back in 2005; since then Ebay has written down $900 million of the deal value after it realized the supposed synergies weren’t going to work out as planned. Andreessen is on the board of Ebay. With this deal, this is his first major investment since the new fund was announced last month.
This comes after Ebay announced plans in April to spin off Skype in a planned IPO. But legal issues over Skype’s underlying technology, which is still under control of Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis via Joltid, their Jersey, England-based company (more on that here). The two tried to put together an investor group to buy Skype, but have not been successful in meeting the price requirements, the NYT story says. It is this litigation that led to Google (NSDQ: GOOG) walking away from a deal last month, the story adds.
Not clear: if the Skype founder are involved with the winning investor group, or if they have agreed to any concessions in the pending legal case.
By Rafat Ali