eBay 'reaches deal to sell Skype'

Online auction site eBay is poised to say it has agreed to sell internet phone company Skype, reports say.

Skype is expected to be sold to a group of private investors, including Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen and private equity firms.

EBay has been trying to sell Skype for some time, and has said that Skype had "limited synergies" with it.

When eBay bought Skype for $2.6bn (£1.6bn) in October 2005, many analysts thought the price was too high.

For sale

The New York Times said that a price has not been named, but that eBay had been seeking about $2bn for Skype.

Earlier this year, eBay had said that it planned to spin off Skype and list its shares in the first half of 2010, an announcement many took as a signal that the firm was for sale.

Skype's software lets computer and mobile phone users talk to each other for free and make cut-price calls to mobiles and landlines.

Unlike traditional mobile calls, which are transmitted over a cellular network, Skype turns your voice into data and sends it over the internet.

Since being acquired, the number of registered Skype users has risen to 405 million from 53 million, though free user-to-user calls still dominate the service.

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