May 05, 2011

Facebook, Google Ogling Skype, Whipping out Their Wallets


If you’ve ever been the girl at the bar two guys are buying drinks for, you know how Skype must feel about now.

According to industry observer Matt Rosoff, Skype “is entertaining buyout offers from both Google and Facebook,” citing to a Reuters report.

“A Skype deal could be valued at $3 billion to $4 billion,” Reuters’ source said, adding that Skype's IPO is expected to raise about $1 billion.

Rosoff says Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook brass “have been considering an outright buyout or a joint venture.” And it would add voice and video conferencing to what Rosoff, painfully but accurately, terms “the pretty lame Messages feature it introduced last year.”

Not sure why Google’s interested, what with Google Chat and all, and given their Midas touch for social networking apps, no doubt they can grow it organically (/sarcasm). As Reuters says, rivals including Apple “have marched into Skype's territory, undercutting the value of the pioneer service. Although Facebook and Skype would benefit from each other's large community of users, neither has proven revenue models, said a separate source familiar with the companies.”

And not everybody’s convinced Skype really makes that much sense for the Zuckerberg empire. “Facebook is clearly consumer focused. It’s unclear what Skype’s business strategy would bring to the table,” writes ZDNet. “Facebook isn’t going to be a corporate IT player any time soon. Skype would most likely be integrated into Facebook chat and coupled with mobile somehow. Facebook-Skype would be compelling, but not necessarily to potential corporate customers.”

Rosoff says Skype filed for an IPO last year, “but in January the company reportedly delayed it until late 2011, and sources at the time said Skype might consider a buyout for $5 to $6 billion.”



David Sims is a contributing editor for TechZone360. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TechZone360 here.

Edited by Jennifer Russell



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