eBay plans Skype IPO for next year

About one year after eBay said it would spend a year evaluating its Skype subsidiary, the Internet auctions giant announced yesterday that it is planning to spin off Skype in an initial public stock offering in the first half of 2010. The decision comes just days after Skype founders were reported to be raising money to possibly buy their baby back from eBay, though eBay said the timing of its decision is merely in line with its original evaluation schedule.

The Wall Street Journal notes the Skype likely was nearing an IPO in 2005 when eBay scooped up the company, but eBay's hopes of creating synergies between the VoIP juggernaut and its other Internet assets never amounted to much. Still, Skype has become wildly successful in its own right, soaring past 405 million users and $551 million in revenue, with the expectation that revenue could push past $1 billion by 2011.

As President Obama seems determined to remind us, some aspects of the economic crisis will continue to worsen before improving, but stock market players have just been given a major calendar item to look forward to for next year. Would it be fair to say that the Skype IPO will be the biggest thing since the Google IPO? See, the irrational exuberance already has begun...

For more:
- Here's the eBay press release
- The Wall Street Journal has this blog post

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