Netscape co-founder Andreessen likely to invest

eBay to sell Skype

eBay has reached a deal to sell its Skype online calling business to a group of private investors, according to reports.

Sources told the New York Times that a price had not been disclosed but that eBay would announce details of the deal today. The internet auction giant is said to want around $2 billion for Skype, which it bought for over $3 billion in 2005.

According to the NYT’s sources, the consortium of investors is likely to include Andreessen Horowitz, the venture capital firm created by Netscape co-founder and eBay board member Marc Andreessen. Private equity firm Silver Lake Partners and UK-based firm Index Ventures – an early investor in Skype – are also said to be involved.

Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis are currently separately fighting over ownership of the peer-to-peer technology behind the service, with the case due to be heard in a British court next year.

Google was said to have been interested in buying Skype last month after losing out to eBay in 2005, but walked away due to fears it would be liable to damages from the ongoing legal cases.

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