All European Roads Lead Back to Skype

As eBay Inc. (EBAY) looks to offload Skype, the executives who sold the Internet telecom firm to eBay have formed the hub of a European network of investors and executives that they hope will rival and even exceed the one in Silicon Valley.

The sale of Skype to eBay for an estimated $3.3 billion in 2005 became renowned as one of Europe’s great venture-capital successes, with more than half the sale price going to employees, according to estimates based on filings for the Securities and Exchange Commission and in Luxembourg. While those kinds of gains have been seen in Silicon Valley, they were practically unheard of in Europe, making Skype alumni stars among European tech entrepreneurs and giving them a cachet in the U.S. that few Europeans could match.

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