Skype safe as eBay strikes deal
Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis are to regain partial control of the VoIP company, as eBay pushes ahead with the sale.
EBay announced it was selling Skype back in April, admitting that the service “has limited synergies with Ebay and PayPal”. The auction site was promptly sued by Zennstrom and Friis, who license the Global Index Software technology underpinning Skype to the company.
They subsequently turned on the potential buyer of the site, Index Ventures and one of its partners, Mike Volpi. The pair accused Volpi of stealing trade secrets to help broker the sale of Skype.
However, a deal has now been struck to clear these legal hurdles, which will see Index Ventures dropped entirely from the deal.
Skype will be well positioned to move forward under new owners with ownership and control over its core technology
Instead, Skype will be sold to investment group Silver Lake – with Zennstrom and Friis taking a 14% stake in the company they founded in return for a “significant capital investment.”
Silver Lake will take a 56% holding, with the remaining 30% share retained by eBay – which will receive $1.9 billion when the deal closes, valuing Skype at around $2.75 billion.
Under the deal, Zennstrom and Friis will continue to license their Global Index Software to Skype, and cease all litigation once the sale is complete.
“Skype will be well positioned to move forward under new owners with ownership and control over its core technology,” says eBay chief executive John Donahoe.
“At the same time, eBay continues to retain a significant stake in Skype and will benefit from its continued growth. We look forward to closing the deal and focusing on growing our core e-commerce and payments businesses.”