Will the Skype founders buy back their brainchild with their own and other investors’ money?
Skype is probably the most visible high-tech success story in Europe and one that pops up regularly even in the US news. That alone is quite a success, as most other European companies don’t get much buzz going for themselves. But, for whatever reason, the two founders always manage to be in the headlines. Now again the New York Times reports on rumors that they are planning to buy back Skype from eBay. eBay has mentioned several times in public that they want to get rid of Skype, as it does not fit as a core element into their strategy and, as the newspaper also writes, they need some cash, too, to keep the U.S. operation running. I personally think it would be a great move, as the potential of Skype seems to be unlimited, but to fully develop it needs the right people and focus. eBay certainly does not provide that.
Another interesting detail was the fact that for some reason the Skype founders managed to retain the core intellectual property of Skype, which is its peer-to-peer networking. If this is indeed the case, then this shows two things: one that eBay not only overpaid them at the time, but also that they seem to not even have bought the core technology rights, which seems quite amateurish, to say the least, and from the viewpoint of the Skype founders shows how incredibly smart and forward-looking they were. Would be nice to have them back in a real promising venture, also because their last startup, Joost, does not seem to be moving anywhere really.
Latest: eBay is now looking to bring Skype to the stock market as the CEO said. I think this makes little sense and probably serves to have a better negotiation position with buyout firms.