Skype, the VoiP company which bought internet telephony to the masses, is beginning to look like an increasingly attractive proposition for venture capitalists after owner eBay received an offer for the business – from its founders.
Entrepreneurs Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis have reportedly put in an offer to buy the company back after eBay said Skype ‘has few synergies’ with its core offering of internet auctions and eCommerce. Private equity groups have been queuing up to back the offer, with four rumoured to be interested in the deal.
Experts have said eBay could get at least $1.7bn (£1.14m) for Skype, which has more than 405 million registered users and posted a revenue of $550m last year, but it looks likely it will have to take a massive writedown from the $2.6bn it paid for the company in 2005, which it has since admitted was ‘over the odds’.
The rumour follows reports Rymans entrepreneur Theo Paphitis is in talks to buy back lingerie chain La Senza after it floundered in the first quarter of this year – proof, perhaps, that in times of trouble, some companies at least are better left in the hands of those who know them best.