eBay sells 65% stake in Skype for $2B
eBay has reached a deal to sell a 65 percent stake in its Skype VoIP calling unit at a $2.75 billion valuation to a consortium of private equity firms, venture capital firms and a Canadian pension plan. PE firm Silver Lake Partners (which also owns Avaya) is leading the investment group, along with Andreessen Horowitz, the venture firm recently started by Netscape founder Mark Andreessen, previous Skype investor Index Ventures and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. The group will pay eBay $1.9 billion in cash and a $125 million prinicpal note for the stake in the company, and eBay will retain 35 percent ownership. The deal is expected to close in Q4 2009.
Andreessen also sits on eBay's Board of Directors, which potentially could have affected the negotiations.
Previously, eBay has hinted it wants in the neighborhood of $2 billion for Skype, which it never managed to integrate with its core auction offering. eBay purchased Skype for $3.1 billion in 2005. eBay floated the possibility of spinning Skype off in an IPO in early 2010, but many analysts speculated that the potential IPO filing was merely bait for this sort of private deal. According to the New York Times report, Google was also interested and actively negotiating for Skype, but ultimately decided against buying the company for fear of litigation and/or action by wireless carriers.