Didn't take long for smoke to become fire...
Just a few days after eBay was rumoured to be pondering a Skype sale back to its founders, the company has announced the VoIP giant will be spun off into its own business. This is a practice widely seen as a great way to separate assets of a corporation from the main infrastructure prior to sale or buy-out.
Naturally eBay wouldn't comment on any future plans but it did release the following statement from eBay President and CEO John Donahoe:
"Skype is a great stand-alone business with strong fundamentals and accelerating momentum. But it's clear that Skype has limited synergies with eBay and PayPal. We believe operating Skype as a stand-alone publicly traded company is the best path for maximizing its potential. This will give Skype the focus and resources required to continue its growth and effectively compete in online voice and video communications. In addition, separating Skype will allow eBay to focus entirely on our two core growth engine - e-commerce and online payments - and deliver long-term value to our stockholders."
The key phrases to take note of here are "limited synergies with eBay and PayPal" (read: doesn't fit) - something we all knew at the time of the original Skype purchase) - and "deliver long-term value to our stockholders" (read: we'll do whatever is most profitable).
This may be a drawn out sale, but it does appear to be the first steps in a sale nonetheless...