eBay, rumored to be shopping around for a buyer for its 2005 acquisition of voice-over-IP phone service Skype, announced in a press release today that it has now decided to prep the ground for a 2010 Skype IPO launch. The announcement also says that this is one of several outcomes considered for Skype when eBay president John Donahoe became CEO early in 2008.Online auction giant
We have recently covered eBay's troubled coexistence with Skype, noting that the two businesses didn't share very much common ground, with codebase integration lagging and other troubles as well. So the question was not so much if a spin-off or sell-off would happen, but when. And for now, it looks like that time is early next year.
The fact that eBay and Skype make strange bedfellows does not mean Skype doesn't have a business model. On the contrary, the business generated revenues of $551 million in 2008, which is a 44% increase year-over-year and represents a 21% profit margin for them. The press releases also states a projected revenue of $1 billion in 2011, twice as much as in 2008.
With promising sales, high adoption rates and an openness to new platforms such as their iPhone app, its not hard to think that Skype will have a booming IPO, and will remove the albatross status from eBay, which can return to its core strengths of online payments and e-commerce.