27 posts and columns on Janus Friis
Microsoft already owns a streaming music service (remember Zune?). Now it’s buying a company with ties to another one. That’s one music service too many.
When a group of powerful investors, including Silver Lake Partners and Andreessen Horowitz, waded into the mess at Skype less than two years ago with a $1.9 billion cash investment for a big chunk of the company, it was–how can BoomTown put this delicately–a hot mess. Now–with Microsoft poised to pay over $8 billion for the Internet telephony and voice communications company–it is a lucrative one.
After Demand, the deluge. Here comes the next big brand-name public offering: Skype, which used to be owned by eBay but was sold off to an investment consortium last fall, is going back on the public market again. Unlike Demand, Skype is profitable. Like Demand, Skype would like you to look at numbers that portray it as very, very profitable.
The tale of Joost, the would-be online video heavyweight, is almost at an end. Most of the company’s remaining assets have been sold off to Adconion Media Group, the two companies announced today.
If spinning is an intense political skill, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman is doing her very best at trying to create a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. As Om Malik reports on GigaOm, Whitman–who is trying to nab the Republican gubernatorial nomination in California–told a radio interviewer recently that “actually I think Skype will prove to be a good acquisition for eBay.” Well, good if you mean the $2.6 billion purchase of the Interent telephony that didn’t ever work as Whitman had effusively promised in 2005. Or the ugly lawsuits over it. Or the successful shakedown by its co-founders to get a big chunk back. You get the idea.
Silicon Valley legend and now VC Marc Andreessen was making the interview rounds after the settlement between the litigation-addled co-founders of Skype and all the various people they were suing was announced this morning. In an interview with BoomTown, when asked about the aggressive legal tactics of Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis that resulted in them finally seizing a stake in the Internet telephony giant by suing him and many other Silicon Valley players, Andreessen said: “We did not take it personally. It’s a clean sheet of paper.” Well, it is actually a torn, stained and very worn out piece of paper, but bygones!
I Love the Smell of Settlement in the Morning: Skype Founders Set to Get 10 Percent, Option to Buy Three Percent More and Two Board SeatsAccording to several sources close to the situation, barring any unforeseen delay, a deal to settle the Skype imbroglio is likely to be announced around the time the markets open tomorrow. While the massive agreement–which will settle a series of lawsuits waged by Skype’s co-founders–is not yet officially signed, sources said lawyers are apparently putting the finishing touches on the paperwork. Sources also said that those co-founders–Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis–will get 10 percent of Skype back for rights to key technology they control, an option to pay $83 million for another three percent of the Internet telephony service and two seats on the 23-member board.
According to sources close to the situation, Index Ventures and Michelangelo Volpi are out of the deal to buy Skype–and their lawsuit-loving nemeses, the founders of the Internet telephony service, are in. More details to come, but it’s sure proof that the legal system, such as it was used, works.