The New York Times reported this weekend that Skype co-founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis are meeting with private equity parties with the idea of leading an effort to re-acquire the company from eBay, which has parented the VoIP juggernaut through lows and highs since buying it in 2005.
Skype's user base has exploded in the last four years, as company officials recently confirmed at CTIA Wireless 2009 in Las Vegas that Skype now has more than 405 million users, an increase of more than 350 million since eBay bought the firm. Research firm TeleGeography also has noted that Skype now carries at least 8 percent of the world's international calling minutes.
Still, eBay has encountered challenges as Skype's owner, having written down some of the value of the original $2.6 billion acquisition cost. It also has been fairly clear that eBay has struggled to leverage Skype's technology in applications that fit with its core Internet auction business. Meanwhile, Skype has become a force to be reckoned with for traditional telecom carriers, and its significance could grow if Skype were to become independent or affiliated in some way with a particular telecom firm.
- The New York Times has this report
Skype is a potential partner and a potential pursuer
Skype began to shake its rep as eBay's burden last year