Skype to spin off in early 2010 IPO

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Skype to spin off in early 2010 IPO

Skype parent company eBay plans to spin off consumer voice-over-IP company Skype in an initial public offering in 2010.

Skype, which boasts over 400 million users, US$551 million in annual revenues and a claim to being the world's largest long distance communications carrier, has been an uneasy fit with parent company, auction house eBay.

eBay purchased Skype for close to US$4 billion in September 2005.

eBay representatives today said Skype will be spun off to standalone on the stockmarket at some stage in early 2010 - pending market conditions.

"Skype is a great stand-alone business with strong fundamentals and accelerating momentum," said eBay president and CEO, John Donahoe.

"But it's clear that Skype has limited synergies with eBay and PayPal. We believe operating Skype as a stand-alone publicly traded company is the best path for maximising its potential.

"This will give Skype the focus and resources required to continue its growth and effectively compete in online voice and video communications."

Donahue has been reviewing eBay's investment in Skype since his appointment as eBay CEO in April 2008.

Donahue installed a new management team at the VoIP company, led by CEO Josh Silverman - with whom the eBay CEO credits as the driver for much of Skype's growth.

Earlier this week it was revealed that Skype's founders were in discussions with private equity firms to make their own bid for the company.

eBay also revealed that two million people have downloaded the Skype for iPhone application within a week of it being made available -making it the number one free download for the iPhone in 40 (national) markets at the time.

The company claims this saw half a million new users register for the Skype service.

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