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eBay to Acquire Skype
Posted on 12-Sep-2005 22:37. | Tags Filed under: News.

eBay Inc. has agreed to acquire Luxembourg-based Skype Technologies SA for approximately US$2.6 billion in up-front cash and eBay stock, plus potential performance-based consideration.

The acquisition will strengthen eBay’s global marketplace and payments platform, currently offered by eBay's Paypal. With

Founded in 2002 by Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, Skype offers voice communications to anyone with an Internet connection. Skype’s premium services provide low-cost connectivity to traditional fixed and mobile telephones. Skype’s software also offers a wide set of features, including voicemail, instant messaging, call forwarding and conference calling. Upcoming product innovations include Skype video, expressive content such as avatars, and customized toolbars for Outlook and Internet Explorer.

Skype already has 54 million members in 225 countries and territories, and it is currently adding approximately 150,000 users a day.

Zennström and Friis will remain in their current positions. Zennström will report to eBay CEO Whitman and join eBay’s senior executive team.

eBay plans to integrate Skype into its marketplace, aiming to streamline and improve communications between buyers and sellers. The company believes Skype can increase the velocity of trade on eBay, especially in categories that require more involved communications such as used cars, business and industrial equipment, and high-end collectibles.

The acquisition also enables eBay and Skype to pursue entirely new lines of business. For example, in addition to eBay’s current transaction-based fees, ecommerce communications could be monetized on a pay-per-call basis through Skype. Pay-per-call communications opens up new categories of ecommerce, especially for those sectors that depend on a lead-generation model such as personal and business services, travel, new cars, and real estate.

eBay will acquire all of the outstanding shares of privately-held Skype for a total up-front consideration of approximately €2.1 billion, or approximately US$2.6 billion, which is comprised of US$1.3 billion in cash and the value of US32.4 million shares of eBay stock, which are subject to certain restrictions on resale.

The maximum amount potentially payable under the performance-based earn-out is approximately €1.2 billion, or approximately US$1.5 billion, and would be payable in cash or eBay stock, at eBay’s discretion, with an expected payment date in 2008 or 2009. Skype shareholders were offered the choice between several consideration options for their shares. Shareholders representing approximately 40% of the Skype shares chose to receive a single payment in cash and eBay stock at the close of the transaction. Shareholders representing the remaining 60% of the Skype shares chose to receive a reduced up-front payment in cash and eBay stock at the close plus potential future earn-out payments which are based on performance-based goals for active users, gross profit and revenue.

Skype generated approximately US$7 million in revenues in 2004, and the company anticipates that it will generate an estimated US$60 million in revenues in 2005 and more than US$200 million in 2006.

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