It’s been pretty quiet on the Skype front ever since it emerged in January that the company’s IPO had been delayed until the second half of this year.
But that IPO might never come.
Facebook is reportedly vying to acquire the ubiquitous VoIP service, according to Reuters, in a deal that could be valued between $3 and $4 billion. Another source said that Facebook and Google are both in early stage talks with Skype to form some sort of partnership.
All companies involved decline to comment on rumors and speculation.
Word of a partnership between Facebook and Skype has been rumored as far back as September 2010, when multiple sources said the two companies were amping up to announce an extensive partnership involving SMS, voice calls and Facebook Connect. The announcement never came, but Skype 5.0--the company’s latest major software release--did give users the ability to call and text their Facebook friends.
Acquiring Skype would make some sense for Facebook, which is currently in the process of revamping its messaging platform to provide a more seamless experience across chat, messages, email, mobile and more. In the past, however, Facebook acquisitions have most often resulted in the acquired company’s team moving entirely to Facebook headquarters and discontinuing work on their prior service, as was the case with Divvyshot and Beluga. We can’t really see that happening with Skype.
A joint venture, on the other hand, would be much more practical, and it wouldn’t derail Skype’s plans for an IPO, supposedly coming in the next several months. (Going public would raise $1 billion for Skype, according to the latest estimates.)
Then there’s Google, increasingly seeking to bolster its Google Voice service, which has much more in common with Skype than any offering from Facebook. Unfortunately, there aren’t any more details than these few and far between rumors that the companies are talking.
"When a company is not going public and it has been on file for a long time, one way or another something is going to happen," said one of Reuter’s sources.
IPO or acquisition: what’s it going to be?