EBay reaches deal to sell Skype

Transaction values Skype at $2.75 billion

EBay Tuesday announced it has signed an agreement to sell its Skype voice-over-IP service to a group of private investors in a deal that values the business at US$2.75 billion.

EBay said it expects to receive about $1.9 billion in cash and a $125 million note from the buyers. The acquiring group, which will have 65 percent ownership of the business, is led by Silver Lake Partnersand includes Index Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

EBay will hold on to a 35 percent stake in Skype, which is the most popular VOIP service in the world, with 480.5 million registered users. Expecting Skype to be an innovative way for merchants and buyers to communicate, eBay paid $2.6 billion for the service in 2005. But Skype did not enhance communications as expected, and two years after the acquisition, eBay wrote down Skype's value by $1.4 billion.

Skype is still growing however, adding 37.3 million users in the second quarter this year, according to EBay.

The transaction, which is not subject to a financing condition, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2009.

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