Report: Skype co-founders may buy it back

Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis sold the company to eBay in 2005 for $2.6 billion. They may be trying to buy it back now for $2 billion, The New York Times reported.

The founders of Skype may be trying to repurchase the Internet phone service, The New York Times reported Saturday.

Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis sold their company to eBay four years ago for $2.6 billion. Sources told The New York Times the two men have been meeting with private equity firms and gathering their own funds to finance the deal.

Since selling their company, the two have created venture capital firm Atomico.

According to Skype, its service has more than 405 million registered users. The compares with 54 million users when eBay bought it in 2005.

eBay has acknowledged that Skype has few synergies with its core businesses, the Times said. And eBay's chief executive has publicly stated that he's willing to sell it for the right price.

Neither the co-founders nor eBay would comment to the Times about a possible sale. But the Times reported that a source with knowledge of the plans said that Zennstrom and Friis are working toward a deal worth $2 billion.

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    Natalie Weinstein is a senior editor who works out of Austin, Texas. She spent a decade as a reporter and editor in the newspaper industry before joining the CNET News staff in 2000. E-mail Natalie.

     

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