Skype's Founders May Seek Firm From eBay
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Co-founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis have contacted several private equity firms in order to make a bid for the company, the New York Times reported on its Web site on Saturday.
The fast-growing Skype, which lets fellow Skype customers call each other for free and posted $550 million in revenue in 2008, was acquired by eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) after former CEO Meg Whitman thought Skype could find an audience in eBay's auction sellers and buyers.
But current CEO John Donahoe has said that Skype has no synergies with the rest of eBay, which also owns Web payments service PayPal. Donahoe has said the company would do what was best for eBay and Skype, comments that some on Wall Street have taken as an interest in selling.
The Times wrote that it was unclear whether the two co-founders were actively engaged in negotiations with eBay.
A representative for eBay could not be immediately reached for comment.
One source, whom the Times said had knowledge of the discussions, said the duo were hoping to raise about $1 billion in equity from private investors. Another potential scenario cited by the source would see eBay putting up the rest of the financing via a seller's note for a deal estimated to be worth more than $2 billion.
Analysts have been pushing eBay to spin off or sell Skype or PayPal, possibilities that could allow eBay to return more cash to shareholders.