eBay To Announce Skype Sale Today: NYT


eBay (EBAY) will today announce plans to sell its Internet phone company Skype to a group of investors that includes eBay board member Marc Andreessen’s new venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, the New York Times reports.

Terms aren’t known, but eBay’s asking price is said to be somewhere near $2 billion.

In a April 2009 note, JP Morgan analyst Imran Khan estimated that Skype’s 2010 net revenue could reach $740 million, with EBITDA of roughly $156 million. At a 10-20X EBITDA multiple, he suggested Skype could be worth $1.6 billion to $3.1 billion as a standalone company.

Outbidding Google and Yahoo (YHOO), eBay paid $3.1 billion for Skype in 2005. It later wrote down $900 million of Skype’s value once it was clear that there’s little reason for an online auction house to own a phone company.

Earlier this year, eBay announced it would offer Skype in an initial public offering. Since then, several private investment groups — including one led by Skype cofounders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis — made runs at buying Skype from eBay, but fell short.

The New York Times says Google (GOOG) came close to a deal last month but balked because Zennstrom and Friis are fighting in British courts over who owns Skype’s peer-to-peer technology.

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