EBay has officially sold Skype in a deal that values the telephony company at $2.75 billion. The online auction company will get $1.9 billion in cash and retains a 35 percent chunk of the company.
There was some questioning about whether it made sense for eBay to unload Skype (Techmeme). Given the valuation of the deal and the fact that eBay keeps a stake of Skype, the deal makes a lot more sense now.
An investor group led by Silver Lake and includes Index Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Investment Board will give eBay $1.9 billion in cash and a note from the buyer worth $125 million. EBay will own 35 percent of Skype when the deal closes in the fourth quarter.
In a statement, eBay CEO John Donahoe called the transaction a "great deal":
We’ve acted decisively on a deal that delivers a high valuation, gives us significant cash up-front and lets us retain a meaningful minority stake with talented partners. Skype is a strong standalone business, but it does not have synergies with our e-commerce and online payments businesses.
Judging from a Silver Lake comment it appears Skype CEO Josh Silverman will stay on board. Silver Lake said the plan is to grow the company by "harnessing the deep technological and company development expertise that resides within the investor group."
Is this a good deal?
I'd say so. EBay gets value for Skype, participates in any upside and takes away any risk related to the IPO. EBay can take its $1.9 billion and almost break even on an acquisition that was a bad idea from the beginning. And its 35 percent stake means it'll get more dough should Skype successfully go public.