Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

[UPDATED] Big Tech IPO of the Day: Skype Tries to Dial Up $100 Million

After Demand, the deluge. Here comes the next big brand-name public offering: Skype, which used to be owned by eBay (EBAY) but was sold off to an investment consortium last fall, is going back on the public market again.

The Internet communications company says it will raise up to $100 million in the offering. The investment group that bought the company for more than $1.9 billion last year includes Silver Lake, Andreessen Horowitz and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

UPDATE: Someone who wants to remain anonymous suggests that the $100 million “Proposed Maximum Aggregate Offering Price” that Skype’s owners have filed with the SEC is merely a placeholder. Which means the company may ultimately seek to raise much more. (And of course they could simply sell the whole thing to a single buyer without ever going public). But until we hear otherwise, we’ve got to go with what they’re telling the government.

Unlike Demand Media, Skype is profitable–in the first six months of this year, it netted $13 million on revenues of $406 million. But like Demand, Skype would like investors to look at different “non-GAAP” metrics that portray it as a very, very profitable company. If you accept “adjusted EBITDA”–and much of Wall Street will–Skype generated profits of $115.8 million during that same time frame.

And as with Demand, Goldman Sachs (GS) is leading this one too. Other underwriters include J.P. Morgan (JPM) and Morgan Stanley (MS).

For those who asked: Most of Skype’s users don’t pay the company a penny, but some pay for extra services, such as the ability to connect to a landline or wireless line. Skype says it has 560 million registered users, and 124 million who use it at least once a month. Of those, 8.1 million are paying an average of $96 a year.

One last interesting tidbit: As a result of a complicated settlement with Skype founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, Skype has ended up in the digital music business. It has put $6 million into Rdio, the new streaming music service the duo founded.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for the next big-name, big-dollar tech IPO, a good candidate would be Glam Media, which has been laying track for an offering for some time.


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— Gitesh Pandya of BoxOfficeGuru.com comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”