EBay may have found a buyer for Skype

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EBay may have found a buyer for Skype

Rumoured billion dollar bid.

EBay may finally have found a way of offloading Skype, according to a report citing sources closes to the firm.

A number of investors are considering a joint bid of $2bn ($2.38bn) for the VoIP service, including Index Ventures, an early backer of Skype, along with recently launched venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and a number of private equity firms, according to an article in TechCrunch.

Skype has insisted that the reports are nothing more than rumour, and has refused to comment. EBay, meanwhile, is currently in a legal battle with Skype's founders, which is likely to complicate any potential sale.

EBay paid US$2.6bn for Skype in 2005, and announced in April that it planned a US$2bn initial public offering sometime next year.

While Skype is doing well and reported a 25 percent rise in second-quarter revenue this year, eBay has acknowledged that the purchase was a mistake because the two companies have limited synergies.

EBay has argued that, by selling Skype, it will be able to focus on its two core growth opportunities of e-commerce and online payments, and bring more value to shareholders.

Andreessen Horowitz was launched in July by Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape, and friend and collaborator Ben Horowitz.

The pair said at the time that they had between US$50,000 and US$50m to invest in a company, depending on its stage and revenue.

It would therefore need to partner with billion dollar equity firms to make an offer for Skype.

Skype is involved in legal action with its founder, Joltid, which still licenses the software that allows Skype to run its worldwide telephony system. The case will not be heard until June 2010.

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