Facebook, Google may be seeking deals with Skype

Skype once again finds itself as the target of a possible buyout, as both Google and Facebook have been said to seeking either a joint venture with the company or an outright acquisition. Any deal is said to be worth some $3 to 4 billion according to Reuters sources.

The company is also in the midst of seeking an initial public offering, which could raise up to $1 billion for the company. That is expected to take place sometime in the second half of this year, and it is not clear if the talks with either company may cause Skype to change plans or scrap the idea altogether.

A joint venture or buyout would provide Skype with a guaranteed influx of cash, whereas an IPO would be subject to the vagaries of the stock market. Sources told Reuters that the performance of other companies attempting to go public shortly may help the company make a decision on its future.

The VoIP provider has traveled down this road once before. In 2005, eBay acquired Skype for $2.6 billion, and planned to integrate the service into its auction and PayPal businesses. That never quite materialized in the way eBay planned it, and in 2009 the company sold off 65 percent of its stake for $1.9 billion.

Internal discussions are being headed by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about a buyout, while there is also rumors that the social networking site had reached out to Skype about some type of joint venture. Google is said to be in early talks about a joint venture as well, Reuters sources indicate.

It is not known which company may have a better chance of success in the talks, but if true they could set up a bidding war over the VoIP service. While Skype is quite popular here in the US, its true strength is overseas -- especially in Europe.

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