eBay may finally get a chance to unload its bastard stepchild Skype–an excellent company and product but one eBay never should have owned. Skype’s founders, Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, and trying to raise some private money to supplement their own and make a run at the company, the New York Times says.
eBay reportedly wants $1.7 billion for Skype, which would allow it not to take an additional writedown. eBay originally paid $4 billion for Skype and has been taking hits since then.
Skype did $145 million of revenue in Q4, which puts it on about a $600 million run rate. A $1.7 billion purchase price would be about 3X revenue, which is reasonable relative to today’s prices and a steal relative to where all these companies were trading two years ago.
Niklas and Janus, meanwhile, are apparently ready to throw in the towl on Joost, their Skype follow-up act, which has been on life support for a year.*
Joost quickly wrote in to say it is not on life support (see CEO Mike Volpi’s note below). After the wildly overhyped product and subsequent disaster of Joost 1.0, we may be too sceptical of the new iteration. We’ve asked Mike and the company for details, and when we get them, we’ll write a follow-up.
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