eBay on Tuesday announced the sale of 65% of its Skype Internet calling division to a group of private investors. The price: $1.9 billion.
The private investors included Silver Lake and a new VC firm run by the Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen, Andreessen Horowitz, as well as London-based Index Ventures and the Canada Pension Plan.
The deal values Skype at $2.75 billion, according to eBay, which had bought the phone company in 2005 for about $3.1 billion. eBay has had trouble integrating Skype with its core businesses, PayPal and its auction site, since it acquired Skype in 2005.
eBay Shareholders appear happy, with the stock up about 2% in early trading. Industry pundits are not so happy, with some saying that eBay should have continued with its plan to go public with Skype in 2010.
ZDNet's Larry Dignan however, warned
that Skype's lawsuit against Joltid Limited made things iffy. Dignan also characterized the Skype acquisition by eBay as "a bad idea from the beginning."
In 2007, eBay wrote down about $1.4 billion of its investment in Skype, finally agreeing that the division did not fit in well with the rest of its online auction businesses.