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eBay says Skype worth $2bn

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eBay's chief executive Jonathan Donahoe believes Skype, which the online tat bazaar is trying to flog, is worth more than $2bn.

That would be good news for eBay which paid $2.6bn for the voice over internet protocol phone service in 2005. Additional payments were dependent on Skype hitting certain targets.

The phone service has remained something of an unloved stepchild at eBay. Supposed "synergies" between the companies never really emerged. Skype was meant to "increase the velocity of trade on eBay", especially for high end items; but although it continues to gain users, it has not become a central part of eBay's auction business. Most observers were unimpressed at the time the buy was announced by Meg Whitman.

Founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis were rumoured to be looking for investors to buy Skype back for $1.7bn.

This would mirror the fate of Stumbleupon - bought by eBay for $75m and no good reason in 2007 then sold back to its founders for, presumably, less in 2009.

Instead eBay said last month it would float Skype shares in the first half of next year.

Donahoe made the comments to Bloomberg TV. He said: “Two billion dollars would be a great steal. Skype is worth much more than that. There aren’t that many properties with that kind of growth.”

Skype claims 443.2 million registered accounts compared to the 53 million it had when bought by eBay. Calls to other Skype users are free, except for internet access costs, while calls to landlines and mobiles are charged at €0.017. ®

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