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EBay Sells Majority in Skype to Group Including Avaya co-owner

EBay has found a collection of private investors to pay $1.9 billion in cash, including a loan from eBay of $125 million, for 65 percent of Skype; EBay is retaining the remaining 35 percent equity investment in the VoIP services company, which will take in more than $600 million revenues this year. The financials of the deal value Skype at $2.75 billion, about 30 per cent more than the $2.1 billion EBay paid in 2005 (bonus incentives for shareholders increased EBay's acquisition cost to about $3 billion). Most industry followers believed that EBay overpaid for Skype, correctly sensing that there would be little profitable synergy between the two companies.Among the investors are Silver Lake Partners; AndreessenHorowitz, a new venture capital firm headed by Marc Andreesen, co-founder of Netscape; Index Ventures, an early Skype investor; and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

Silver Lake is familiar to the enterprise communications market as the co-owner (with TPG) of Avaya. It would be interesting to speculate whether Silver Lake will help establish a strong relationship between Avaya and Skype. Avaya's customer base could certainly leverage free Skype calling services for network communications between facilities. There could certainly be more synergy between Avaya and Skype than EBay and Skype exhibited during the past few years, and this is something that warrants watching in the future.