Big companies invest for their best interest
eBay Inc. has agreed to acquire Skype Technologies SA, the global Internet communications company, for approximately $2.6 billion in up-front cash and eBay stock, plus potential performance-based consideration, total price being $4.1 billion.
eBay will acquire all of the outstanding shares of privately-held Skype for a total up-front consideration of approximately $2.6 billion, which is comprised of $1.3 billion in cash and the value of 32.4 million shares of eBay stock, which are subject to certain restrictions on resale. The maximum amount potentially payable under the performance-based earn-out is approximately $1.5 billion, and would be payable in cash or eBay stock, at eBay’s discretion.
The acquisition will strengthen eBay’s global marketplace and payments platform, while opening several new lines of business and creating significant new monetization opportunities for the company. The deal also represents a major opportunity for Skype to advance its leadership in Internet voice communications and offer people worldwide new ways to communicate in a global online era.
Skype, eBay and PayPal will create an unparalleled ecommerce and communications engine for buyers and sellers around the world.
“Communications is at the heart of ecommerce and community,” said Meg Whitman, President and Chief Executive Officer of eBay. “By combining the two leading ecommerce franchises, eBay and PayPal, with the leader in Internet voice communications, we will create an extraordinarily powerful environment for business on the Net.”
One of the fastest growing companies on the Internet, Skype already has 54 million members in 225 countries and territories. Skype is currently adding approximately 150,000 users a day and has created a thriving ecosystem of products, services, developers, and affiliates. Skype is considered the market leader in virtually all countries in which it does business. In North America alone, Skype has more users and serves more voice minutes than any other Internet voice communications provider.
“Our vision for Skype has always been to build the world’s largest communications business and revolutionize the ease with which people can communicate through the Internet,” said Niklas Zennstrom, Skype CEO and co-founder. “We can’t think of any better platform to fulfill this vision to become the voice of the Internet than with eBay and PayPal.”
“We’re great admirers of how eBay and PayPal have simplified global ecommerce and payments,” said Janus Friis, Skype co-founder and senior vice president, strategy. “Together we feel we can really change the way that people communicate, shop and do business online.”
Zennstrom and Friis will remain in their current positions. Zennstrom will report to eBay CEO Whitman and join eBay’s senior executive team.
A Powerful Ecommerce and Communications Engine
Online shopping depends on a number of factors to function well. Communications, like payments and shipping, is a critical part of this process. Skype will streamline and improve communications between buyers and sellers as it is integrated into the eBay marketplace. Buyers will gain an easy way to talk to sellers quickly and get the information they need to buy, and sellers can more easily build relationships with customers and close sales. As a result, Skype can increase the velocity of trade on eBay, especially in categories that require more involved communications such as used cars, business and industrial equipment, and high-end collectibles.
The acquisition also enables eBay and Skype to pursue entirely new lines of business. For example, in addition to eBay’s current transaction-based fees, ecommerce communications could be monetized on a pay-per-call basis through Skype. Pay-per-call communications opens up new categories of ecommerce, especially for those sectors that depend on a lead-generation model such as personal and business services, travel, new cars, and real estate. eBay’s other shopping websites -- Shopping.com, Rent.com, Marktplaats.nl and Kijiji – can also benefit from the integration of Skype.
PayPal and Skype also make a powerful combination. For example, a PayPal wallet associated with each Skype account could make it much easier for users to pay for Skype fee-based services, adding to the number of PayPal accounts and increasing payment volume.