Skype in $100m IPO

Internet telephony player Skype has filed for an initial public offering of $100m worth of shares, demonstrating confidence in its business plan despite not having made a profit for the last four years.

Skype is majority held by previous 100 per cent owner eBay and investment house Silver Lake, which did not reveal how many shares the company would be allocating.

The VoIP firm has had mixed fortunes over the past few years, including most recently the threat of shutdown over usage rights to the service’s underlying technology. Yet Skype has consistently found willing partners in the telecoms space and has had much involvement in changing the mobile carrier community’s perception of VoIP.

Commenting on the IPO, Dario Talmesio, senior analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, said: “Skype’s IPO demonstrates that investors have confidence in its business proposition. Quite rightly. Skype has introduced a number of promising solutions. The prospects in the paid-for market for mobile applications look particularly interesting. Market forces and technology enablers are aligning in such a way that the addressable market for Skype mobile will expand dramatically. The only risk is that the company could become too greedy and upset its own loyal customers. Maintaining the right balance between free and freemium will be the key to Skype’s success,” Talmesio said.

The firm has experienced great success on mobile, especially with its recently updated iPhone application. “We expect Skype to become even more assertive in the market. Its products and services will expand into adjacent areas outside just VoIP. This could represent a threat to some telecoms operators but it will also open opportunities to those willing to partner with and eventually monetize, OTT players,” Talmesio said.

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