eBay to sell Skype to a consortium of private investors

eBay Inc the American online auction company, is expected to announce a deal today for selling its voice-over-IP service  Skype to a consortium of private investors, the New York Times said, citing two people briefed on the company's plans.

The report said that the investment group is likely to include Netscape co-founder Andreessen Horowitz and a new venture capital firm headed by him.

London-based Index Ventures, which was an early investor in Skype and Silver Lake Partners may also be involved in the deal, one of the people told the paper.

Although the price tag for the sale of Skype was not disclosed, eBay was looking for around $2 billion.

Although eBay had outbid Google and Yahoo in acquiring Skype for $2.6 billion in September 2005 from Skype's founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, it hardly added any significant value to the company and eBay admitted that the acquisition was a strategic and financial failure.

In April 2009, eBay had decided to spin off Skype as a separate company through an initial public offering in the first half of 2010, while remaining a "significant" shareholder. (See: eBay plans Skype public offering in 2010)