Skype trial could delay eBay unlocking $2bn

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John Donahoe’s statement that “Skype is a great stand-alone business” could be coming back to haunt him as the IPO due to float it off may be facing a long delay.

Some of the technology that Skype uses is under dispute with Skype failing to secure an early court date in London. The case is now likely to be heard in the first quarter of 2010 and any attempts to float the company before then is likely to impact heavily on the price.

If Skype loses in court the original Skype founders who claim they still own some of the underlying Skype technology could put the scuppers on the service, totally disabling Skype.

It’s bizaare that having paid $2.6 billion for Skype (later written down to $1.2 billion) that they didn’t ensure they were actually buying the entire kaboodle. Buying a company that doesn’t own or have cast iron guarantees it can continue to use it’s technology is a recipe for disaster, but one that could net the original founders yet another massive payday.

In the mean time putting the Skype IPO on hold appears to be the only option left for eBay, having paid over the odds for Skype in the first place, offloading a major chunk onto the stock market at what would inevitably be a vastly underpriced value just isn’t an option.

3 Responses

  1. Chris, did eBay not also pay and additional amount based on performance ?

    From the BBC :

    If certain performance targets are met, eBay said it would pay an additional $1.5bn to Skype over the next three years , bringing the total size of the deal to $4bn



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