eBay relieving itself of Skype

Staring at the Skype logo on a blank screen

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: eBay has apparently come to an agreement to sell its Internet phone company Skype. The New York Times reports the deal could be announced today. Our man in London, Stephen Beard, reports it looks like Skype is going to private investors.


Stephen Beard: eBay has been trying sell Skype for some time. The company admits that buying the Internet phone service four years ago was a mistake. The plan to have its customers communicate by Skype did not pan out. Online buyers and sellers prefer to have their transactions in writing by e-mail or text.

But eBay's misery may soon be over. The New York Times says the company has agreed to sell Skype to a group of private equity firms and other investors. Barry Fox of New Science Magazine says a sale at this time is rather surprising:

Barry Fox: There's a dispute now -- a legal dispute between eBay and the original owners -- about who owns the core technology. If you were going to buy a company would you really want a legal case, unresolved, as part of the deal?

That case will be heard in the British High Court next year. The sale price for Skype has not been revealed. eBay has been seeking $2 billion, about a billion less than it paid for the company.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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