eBay is expected to announce today that it is selling popular VoIP telephony service Skype to a group of private investors, according to a New York Times report yesterday citing people "briefed on the company's plans".
eBay bought Skype in 2005 in a deal which eventually cost the online auctions giant over $3 billion, beating off rival bids from Google and Yahoo. However, the firm was soon forced to concede that the internet telephony service was a poor fit with its main business.
In April, eBay announced plans to IPO Skype in the first half of 2010, but just last month The New York Times reported eBay was in discussions with Google about offloading Skype, although the search giant was said to have walked away from the deal.
The new reports don't disclose a price but say that Skype will be sold to an investment group including Andreesen Horowitz, a VC firm headed up by Netscape founder Marc Andreessen.
eBay could be happy to offload Skype given it has also been locked in a legal dispute with Skype's founders for the past few months. If not resolved, the dispute could force the company to replace the technology at the heart of the popular internet telephony service.
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