eBay Upgraded; Is Microsoft Interested in PayPal/Skype?

Is Microsoft (MSFT) interested in taking a stake in eBay’s (EBAY) PayPal and Skype units?

Stifel Nicolaus analyst Scott Devitt asserts in a research note this morning that he has “thought it possible for Microsoft to attain an equity ownership interest in PayPal/Skype.” He notes that display ads for Microsoft’s program for providing cash back to consumers who make purchases through MSN have shown up on eBay, and that all of eBay’s fixed price items qualify for the program. He also notes that the cash-back program offers PayPal deposit of refunds.

Manwhile, Devitt this morning upped his rating on eBay to Buy from Hold; he maintains his $35 price target on the stock.

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