eBay Skype-Private Equity Deal 'Unlikely'


eBay (EBAY) is having a hard time getting rid of Skype, the Internet phone company it bought for $2.6 billion in 2005 — and has no business owning.

Skype’s founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis and a host of private equity firms tried to buy the Internet phone company back from eBay, but the sides are reportedly “far apart” after a low bid, the WSJ reports.

WSJ: The founders’ offer fell on deaf ears, as it was well below the price at which Ebay was willing to sell the business. The two sides are far apart and at this stage a deal involving the private-equity firms is unlikely to be completed, said people familiar with the matter.

The WSJ doesn’t know the total bid price, but it says four private equity firms — KKR, Warburg, Providence, and Elevation Partners — offered to contribute $1 billion to the deal. eBay would have also provided financing.

We suspect some deal will get done eventually — eBay is really much better off without Skype, and vice-versa — but now it’s a matter of wrangling and waiting. (Seems obvious one side leaked a few details to the WSJ to get the other to adjust their price.)

Earlier today, eBay sold another startup, StumbleUpon, back to its founders.

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