Will eBay sell Skype?

Speculation is growing that online auction house eBay is preparing to sell its internet telephone subsidiary Skype.

The rumours have been flying across the internet after the eBay’s chief executive John Donahue described Skype as a “great stand-alone business”. Donahue was talking with analysts about eBay’s fourth-quarter profits, which were lower due to less consumer spending.

“The synergies between Skype and the other parts of our portfolio are minimal,” Donahue said. Several analysts say this is a signal Skype is about to be cut loose.

Jack Murphy, analyst for Chicago-based investment bank William Blair, told The Times Online that “it’s important that eBay has opened the door to a buyer by talking about Skype as a stand-alone business. It would be best for eBay to get whatever cash they could for it and focus on their struggling core marketplace business.”

Larry Witt, analyst for investment researcher MorningStar, said: “If someone’s willing to pay the right price, I don’t think [eBay] would have a problem selling it.”

“They will have their own internal projections on how much it’s worth, but I think they made it clear it’s not a core part of their strategy going forward.”

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