eBay to Spin Off Skype; IPO in 2010

Recently, it was reported that the founders of Skype, Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, were attempting to buy the company back from eBay. They can forget about that, however. eBay announced on Tuesday it will spin off Skype into its own company, beginning with an IPO in the first half of 2010.

They said, however, that:
Specific timing of the IPO will be based on market conditions.
Translation: still in a recession? No IPO.

This news comes a day after eBay sold StumbleUpon back to its founders.

In that case, since eBay seems ready to divest itself of subsidiaries that it feels have "limited synergies with eBay and PayPal," which is exactly what the company said about StumbleUpon, why "no sale?"

Well, eBay paid $3.1 billion for Skype in 2005, including bonus payments. Reports were that the offer coming from Zennstrom and Friis was going to be around $2 billion. eBay probably feels it can get more from an IPO, or at least stir the pot for more cash from Zennstrom and Friis.

Last year, Skype generated $551 million in revenues, up 44% from 2007, while registered user numbers increased to 405 million at the end 2008, up 47% from 2007.

eBay finished down $0.25 to $14.38, but was up nearly 3% to $14.81 in after-hours trading.
Tags:  eBay, Skype, IPO