eBay and Skype founders settle lawsuit | IT PRO

eBay and Skype founders settle lawsuit eBay and an investment group has settled a lawsuit regarding Skype, which had been holding up plans to sell off the VoIP firm.

Skype’s founders have bought back 14 per cent of their firm from eBay, after settling a lawsuit over software rights.

eBay bought Skype in 2005 for $2.6 billion from founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, but this year decided to spin it off to investors including Silver Lake Group.

Since then, Zennström and Friis’s new firm Joltid and would-be buyers Silver Lake have been engaged in a legal battle over who owns the software behind Skype.

[Editors note: I can’t think of any reason that this is connected to Digital Cinema…it is just interesting. For months, the previous billionaires who had sold Skype to eBay were saying that they didn’t sell the code that makes Skype run. There was some consternation that this would cause the rediculously priced Skype to be worth even less, as eBay had been unable to create a software version in its stead.

So, the previous owners admit that the code is eBay’s, allowing eBay to sell a good portion of the company, and the original owers get part of the company back, but they had to pay cash for it. Sounds as convoluted as the p2p software that Skype is based upon.

The whole article is at: eBay and Skype founders settle lawsuit | IT PRO
By Nicole Kobie, 6 Nov 2009 at 17:26

End Editor’s note]

Silver Lake and Joltid have apparently agreed that Skype owns all the software which it previously licensed, giving it control over the software. On the other hand, Zennström and Friis will join Silver Lake, bringing a “significant capital investment” and being handed a 14 per cent stake in Skype.

That will leave Silver Lake and other investors with 56 per cent of the company, while eBay will keep 30 per cent.

It also means the previously agreed deal between Silver Lake and eBay will close at the end of this year, with the investors buying their stake from the online auction firm for $1.9 million, suggesting Skype is worth $2.75 billion.

“Skype will be well positioned to move forward under new owners with ownership and control over its core technology,” said eBay’s president and chief executive John Donahoe.

“At the same time, eBay continues to retain a significant stake in Skype and will benefit from its continued growth,” he added in a statement. “We look forward to closing the deal and focusing on growing our core ecommerce and payments businesses,”

Silver Lake managing director Egon Durban said his group was “very pleased” the legal battle was over. “We remain confident in a great future for Skype, and we look forward to working with Niklas, Janus and the other investors as partners to help the company achieve its full potential.”

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