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eBay Expects 50 Percent Return On Skype Investment

eBay announced that it expects to earn at least a 50 percent return on its six-year-old, $2.6 billion investment Skype Technologies SA.

The announcement came from the company following the confirmation by Microsoft Corp. yesterday that it is going ahead with its proposed acquisition of Skype for approximately $8.5 billion.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Skype stakeholders are likely to reap a hefty reward from the acquisition.

The deal is believed to be led by Silver Lake, a US based private equity firm, who is also the largest stakeholder in Skype. Silver Lake currently owns 39 percent of the company’s shares, followed by eBay with almost 30 percent.

“With this sale, we have realized a total return of $1.4 billion on our original investment in Skype,” John Pluhowski, a spokesperson from EBay, reportedly told Bloomberg in an e-mail.

eBay invested in Skype in 2006 when the company’s then Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman reportedly felt that voice over internet services would accelerate online sales by providing a platform where buyers and sellers can communicate with each other.

A sales platform based on Skype's services never materialised, which may be part of the reason that eBay is selling its stake in the company now.