If you believe the rumours, Ebay is interested in buying Skype.
It doesn’t surprise me for the simple reason that the past summer the VoIP provider has been said to be talking to everyone with a few billion in the bank, including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. Ebay too has plenty of money, bundled with ambitions to get bigger.
At a first glance, the two companies have little in common. Skype offers software that allows internet calling. Ebay owns companies that bring buyers and sellers together – be it through auctions, classified ads or rental listing.
Given that Skype is said to cost anything from $2bn – $5bn, Ebay better have a plan to earn back that investment. They could do that by offering a VoIP calling feature to its sellers on Ebay. A less likely scenario is that Ebay wants to become a telecommunications company that offers VoIP services to consumers and/or enterprises.
But is either worht $2bn or more? Skype isn’t priced so expensively because the company has VoIP technology, but because it comes with a network of millions of users. Anyone who buys the company does so because they want to monetise that user group.
If Ebay wanted to offer a VoIP calling feature, they can buy one for less than $2bn. And the auction site certainly doesn’t need to buy the users to turn them into buyers on its websites.
That only leaves the diversification theory: Ebay wants to expand its business beyond "connecting buyers and sellers". Or the whole story isn't more than rumours.
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