Ebay just announced a plan for 2010 IPO of Skype. A lot can be said about the journey of the two companies so far, but we think it’s hight time for the relationship to end – For Skype’s and and for Ebay’s benefit. By not letting the Skype founders buy back the company, Ebay is sending a message of it’s own, but an Initial Public Offering pushed all the way to 2010 means practically nothing but that Ebay is not happy with Skype’s performance so far and that they are taking bids.
By pushing the date that far into the future and annoucing that “specific timing of the IPO will be based on market conditions” the company is effectively saying that anything can happen between now and then. They might not even let Skype go if it starts to perform or if it becomes a real strategic asset, which it hardly will.
The message to take away from this is that now even Ebay has confessed that there are no synergies between the two companies and that they made a bad investment -Ebay thought it would be an ideal way for buyers and sellers to talk to each other before the seller makes the purchase decision. All well, except that naturally the sellers don’t want to talk to all the buyers and answer all questions about the product. Skype is not a bad investment per se, but a bad investment for Ebay. I believe Skype will have a bright future ahead with eight percent of all international calls and $551 million in revenue, but I would not hold my breath to see an IPO even in 2010. Much can happen before that.
You can read more about the announcement from the press release.