eBay: Take My Skype…Please
“Skype is a great standalone business.”
That’s how CEO John Donahoe described eBay’s anomalous Internet telephony unit during the company’s recent earnings call, and that remark is being interpreted by some as a signal that the online auctioneer is looking to unload it.
And, frankly, that wouldn’t be a bad idea, considering that eBay (EBAY) hasn’t yet really managed much integration between its auction Web site and the Skype voice service–certainly not enough to justify its hefty $2.6 billion investment and the write-downs that followed it. Even eBay has admitted as much: “I think we are now confident that the synergies between Skype and the other parts of our portfolio are minimal,” said Donahoe, generously adding that the division is “not a distraction currently.”
So, while eBay’s leadership isn’t saying anything about a Skype divestiture, it has clearly opened the door to one. Said Morningstar analyst Larry Witt, “If someone’s willing to pay the right price, I don’t think [eBay] would have a problem selling it.”