Software giant are said to be ‘close’ to sealing a deal to buy internet calling giant Skype.
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A deal, although not yet finalised, could be announced as early as tomorrow, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Neither party has made an official comment yet. The deal is said to be worth $7bn-$8.5bn.
Skype is one third owned by eBay and the remainder by private investors.
The massive pricetag for the biggest internet caller in the world, is indicative of the enormous value the software giant appear to be placing on its acquisition, which could be crucial to its market renaissance that has taken a battering in recent years.
Google has surpassed its Bing search service by miles and is also looking to edge in on its monopoly in the Office software business with a similar Docs service.
However, if successful Steve Ballmer’s giant could incorporate Skype with a division called Lync, which combines email, instant messaging and voice communications into a single application.
Either way, Skype gets eyeballs with estimated 45 billion minutes of net calls were made last year alone – double that of all phone companies’ volumes globally and would put Microsoft is a much stronger footing in its internet business. It also has around 145 million monthly users, on average.
However, there are a few issues to considered before Microsoft will be
willing to put pen to paper, including the question of the long term debt the
Luxembourg based firm has amassed – $US686m to the end of last year.
And the profitability of Skype is also to be questioned. Last year it also recorded an operating loss of $US7m on the back of revenue of $US860m and $US264m in operating profits.
Just last week, reports emerged that both Facebook and Google were at war to win over its favour and enter into a joint venture for mobile calling solutions.
Last year, it announced it was to go public although these plans were halted on hold after its new CEO Tony Bates took the reins.