EBay's intended spin-off of Skype as a new public company could be threatened by a dispute between Skype's founders and the internet telephony firm's parent.
The online auction giant intends to launch an IPO for Skype in 2010. However, according to a report in Bloomberg, Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis (through their new company Joltid) have accused eBay of breaking terms of a licensing deal.
The Skype founders apparently still own key technology that the platform needs to function, and they are threatening to withdraw that technology — which would disable Skype.
EBay has sued Friis and Zennstrom to stop this happening, according to Bloomberg. The argument could either sink the IPO or cause it to raise much less money than hoped for, lawyers quoted in the piece say.
It is not yet clear precisely what integral technology eBay failed to buy when it picked up Skype for $2.6bn four years ago.