EBay to Sell Majority Stake in Skype

Internet commerce portal eBay announced Tuesday that it planned to sell a majority stake in Skype to a group of private investors led by equity firm Silver Lake Partners.

Under the terms of the deal, buyers will acquire 65 percent stake in Skype calling service in exchange of $1.9 billion in cash which however includes a loan of $125 million from eBay. The latter will continue to hold 35 percent equity investment in Skype which has been estimated to be worth $2.75 billion under the conditions of the present deal.

Skype is an internet calling service which has established its presence in the highly competitive market of web-based calling services. According to industry estimates Skype is predicted to garner more than $600 million in revenue in the current year.

The group of buyers for Skype is led by Silicon Valley-based private equity firm Silver Lake Partners. Other significant names in the group are Andreessen Horowitz, a recent venture capital firm floated by Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen and Index Ventures, another venture capital firm based in London which was of the first investors in Skype.

EBay acquired Skype for $2.1 billion in 2005 in a deal that was rumored to have paid much more than the internet calling service was then worth.

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