Skype plans US stock market listing

Skype, the IP telephony company founded and part-owned by Swedish entrepreneur Niklas Zennström, is planning an initial public offering of its shares in the USA, according to a report in the New York Times.

The firm whose product allows users to conduct video and telephone calls over the internet, has filed to offer US depository shares up to a value of $100 million, the newspaper reported.

Zennström founded Skype together with Dane Janus Friis in 2003 and the firm was declared one of the success stories of the early internet age when it was sold to US auction website Ebay for $2.6 billion in 2005, with the founders.

Zennström and Friis shared around $2.5 billion from the deal.

But despite rapid growth in user numbers Ebay sold around 70 percent of the stock to a group of investors comprising of Silver Lake Partners, CPPIB, Andreessen Horowitz, and the original founders – returning Zennström and Friis a 14 percent stake in the firm.

Skype grew to 560 million users by the end of June 2010, an increase of over 40 percent in a year, but revenues remain small due to the low numbers of users paying for services. The business has posted losses in four of the last five years and had net income of only $13 million in the first six months of 2010.

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