|Wed Jan 21 2009 21:10:41|
eBay Showcasing Skype to Potential Suitors?
By: Ina Steiner
When eBay's John Donahoe talked up Skype during a conference call with analysts, we wondered if this "great standalone business" could be slated for the chopping block. Skype had a terrific year, he said, and proceeded to tick off its performance metrics.
With his Bain management-consultant background, John has already made cuts, such as terminating the eBay Live Auctions business (as well as laying off 10% of employees and closing offices in some countries).
But when John was asked later in the call about what eBay was doing to increase shareholder value for Skype, our ears really perked up. He said he believes it is a great standalone business and getting stronger, "but the synergies between Skype and the other parts of our portfolio are minimal. So we're going to continue to run and operate the business. It's not a distraction currently. And at such time when we have further announcements on that, we'll let you know. But for now, we're very pleased at the momentum of the business, and it's not a distraction."
An announcement?? If not already in talks with suitors, it sounds like an invitation.
eBay paid $2.6 billion for Skype in 2005, and 2 years later, took a $1.4 billion write-down, an admission of what everyone else knew when the purchase price was disclosed: eBay had paid too much.
When eBay bought Skype, eBay said there were synergies among the three companies in its portfolio: eBay, PayPal and Skype. Today, eBay publicly stated that there are no such synergies.