Updated at 12 midnight. Microsoft has bought Skype for $8.5 billion, in an all-cash deal. The deal closed a few hours ago.
is close to finalizing a deal to buy Skype for between $7 billion to $8
billion. The Wall Street Journalconfirmed the news after we had first reported it yesterday. The announcement is likely to come out later today or tomorrow morning, according to several reports. Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, is said to be a big champion of the deal, the largest in the history of the company. Ballmer and Skype CEO Tony Bates will host a press conference in a few hours.
Skype has been up for sale for some time, thanks to some very antsy investors. My sources indicated both eBay and Silver Lake Partners have been getting nervous about the delayed initial public offering and have been pushing for a sale of Skype. Facebook and Google were said to be earlier dance partners for Skype, and Microsoft was a late entrant and is now close to walking away with the prize.
It won’t surprise me if Microsoft comes in for major heat on this decision to buy Skype — and the software company could always botch this purchase, as it often does when it buys a company. The Skype team is also full of hired guns who are likely to move on to the next opportunity rather than dealing with the famed Microsoft bureaucracy. Finish Reading (pg.2)….