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Skype IPO Expected in 2011

TMCnews Featured Article

November 02, 2010

Skype IPO Expected in 2011

By Beecher Tuttle, TMCnet Contributor

After more than a year of speculation, it seems that Skype (News - Alert) will finally move forward with an initial public offering (IPO), several sources close to the situation told Reuters.

Although many analysts expected the VoIP provider to go public at some point this year, market conditions and several internal factors have delayed the move, according to two unnamed sources. Skype originally filed an S-1 registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission back in August, but have made several major moves since that may have pushed back the company's timetable.

Just last month, the voice calling giant hired Tony Bates, a former Cisco Systems (News - Alert) senior vice president, as its CEO. Bates will have to develop a better understanding of the company's line of products and roster of employees before making the final decision on the date of the IPO, Reuters (News - Alert) reports.

Skype will most likely complete the initial public offering process at some point in 2011. Analysts expect that the IPO could be valued at as much as $1 billion.

Meanwhile, Skype has apparently decided against pursuing a dual-track option, where it would consider selling off a small stake in the company to raise some capital. Several major players in the technology space -- including Yahoo, Google, Apple, AT&T, Microsoft and Verizon Wireless (News - Alert) -- were all said to be interested in at least discussing the option of obtaining a pre-IPO stake in the Luxembourg-based software outfit, according to the news source.

"The valuation expectations were very high and never got anyone to really bite," one source told Reuters.

Skype has already changed hands a few times in the past. Last November, an investment group led by Silver Lake Partners bought the majority stake from eBay (News - Alert), which still owns about 30 percent of the company. Skype's initial founders and Web entrepreneur Mark Andreessen have minority stakes in the company. 

Beecher Tuttle is a TMCnet contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

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