Feeds

eBay to divorce Skype on Wall St

Hangs up on Web 2.0 telco dream

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

eBay plans to spin off Skype sometime in 2010, having failed to turn itself into a Web 2.0 telecoms hybrid.

eBay said today it's targeting an initial public offering for Skype in the first half of next year. The IPO idea follows recent rumors that Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis were rounding up private equity partners to buy back their firm for $1.7bn. The IPO might also be a scheme for eBay to drive up the bidding price and make some of its money back.

The company has been looking for ways to offload its VoIP outfit since at least the beginning of this year, if only it could find someone willing to pay the right amount.

eBay's chief executive John Donahoe today cited "limited synergies" between the online auction house and VoIP engine, adding he thinks Skype will do better as a stand-alone publicly traded company. Donahoe said he's spent a year meditating on Skype's fate since he replaced Meg Whitman as CEO in April 2008.

Whitman is now campaigning to become governor of California based on her "solid" achievements as a business chief whilst running eBay.

The original bright idea behind Whitman's $2.6bn purchase of Skype in 2005 was to blend a communications unit inside its shoe, automotive and Star Trek memorabilia storehouse.

It was the kind of un-baked thinking that Silicon Valley championed as the very epitome of "rational exuberance". That is the opposite of the "irrational exuberance" of the dot-com era. Loosely translated: enthusiasm, without the crazy.

Four years later, eBay has been unable to logically integrate the technology into its core business. Turns out crazy is still crazy, no matter how rational it might seem during a tech bubble.

In 2007, eBay was forced to eat a $900m charge based on the decreased value of Skype.

eBay said Skype's 2008 revenue was $551 million, up 44 per cent from 2007. The company also expects to top $1bn revenue by 2011.

Perhaps the company is hoping an IPO announcement set for the distant future could work out two ways: either it gets investors excited about making Skype a separate firm, or it will urge those thinking about buying the company outright to reach a little deeper into their wallets. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Bladerunner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it
Go ahead, you're all clear, kid... Sorry, wrong film
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'
Former CEO has political ambitions again, according to Washington DC sources
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.