eBay Inc. today announced that it plans to separate Skype from
the company, beginning with an initial public offering that is
intended to be completed in the first half of 2010.
Specific timing of the IPO will be based on market conditions,
the company said.
"Skype is a great stand-alone business with strong fundamentals
and accelerating momentum," said eBay Inc.'s President and CEO,
John Donahoe. "But it's clear that Skype has limited synergies
with eBay and PayPal. We believe operating Skype as a stand-alone
publicly traded company is the best path for maximizing its
potential. This will give Skype the focus and resources required
to continue its growth and effectively compete in online voice
and video communications. In addition, separating Skype will
allow eBay to focus entirely on our two core growth
engines?e-commerce and online payments?and deliver long-term
value to our stockholders."
The decision to separate Skype is based on a timeline outlined by
Donahoe when he became eBay's CEO in April 2008. At the time, the
company said it would spend a year evaluating Skype and its
potential synergies within the eBay Inc. portfolio before making
any decisions about Skype's future. Donahoe also installed a new
management team at Skype led by Josh Silverman, which has driven
stronger momentum and improved performance. In 2008, Skype
generated revenues of $551 million, up 44 percent from 2007, and
segment margins of approximately 21 percent. Registered users
reached 405 million by the end of 2008, up 47 percent from 2007,
and user metrics improved significantly throughout the year. The
company recently announced that it expects Skype to top $1
billion in revenue in 2011, nearly doubling 2008 revenues.
"Under the leadership of Josh Silverman and his management team,
Skype has become a stronger business in the past year, and I
expect it will be even stronger a year from now," Donahoe said.
"Skype has accelerating global user growth and strong
fundamentals, diversified revenue streams and is competitively
positioned in a large market. We expect Josh and his team to
continue delivering results as we prepare Skype for an IPO."