EBay to float Skype after selling StumbleUpon

EBay plans to seperate its Skype subsidiary by holding an initial public offering (IPO) next year, after recognising that the two companies have little in common.

EBay bought Skype for $3.1bn in 2005 but announced today that Skype will be operated as a standalone company while eBay concentrates on its core business of e-commerce and online payments.

Announcing the decision, John Donahoe, president and chief executive of eBay said: "It's clear that Skype has limited synergies with eBay and PayPal." That message differs hugely from that of then chief executive Margaret Whitman who said that the two companies would create an 'extraordanarily powerful environment for doing business on the net'.

The Skype situation is very similar to eBay's StumbleUpon experience, albeit a more costly one. The auction site bought recommendation engine StumbleUpon for around $75m in May 2007 and stated that "StumbleUpon is a great fit with our goal of pioneering new communities based on commerce and sustained by trust."

But it has since proved otherwise as eBay announced yesterday that it has sold the company back to its founders. Garret Camp, one of the founders, said: "We (StumbleUpon) realised there were few synergies between the companies. It is best for us both to part ways and concentrate on our respective strengths."

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