According to the Associated Press, eBay plans to jettison Skype from its corporate holdings by holding an initial public offering for the company in the first half of 2010. Ebay paid $2.6 billion for Skype in 2005, confusing analysts and confounding some investors with what many deemed an over-priced deal.
Ebay’s initial plans for Skype were as an intra-eBay communication service for buyers and sellers. After users’ tepid response, eBay wrote down nearly $1 billion of the cost of the property. That integration problem has plagued the eBay-Skype relationship ever since, and in a statement on Tuesday, CEO John Donahue acknowledged as much, calling it a problem of “limited synergies.”
Skype’s management should stay intact as it goes public, thanks to fantastic growth over the last two years and a 44% increase in revenue from 2007-2008. Analysts have praised eBay’s decision to spin off the voice and video service as a wise way to make Skype a workable appendage to the company, without having to sell it at a massive loss. The news comes a day after social news site StumbleUpon’s founders purchased back that site from eBay for $75 million.