The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Skype’s IPO is being pushed back to the second half of 2011. Last August, Skype filed for an IPO registration statement with the SEC, with the maximum proposed offering amount listed as $100 million (that is a placeholder amount.) It was thought that the IPO would take place early this year, but apparently the company’s newly appointed CEO Tony Bates is looking for more time to get Skype “in better shape.”
From the Wall Street Journal report: “Tony needs to get his feet underneath him and understand the business and the voice of the company,” another person familiar with the matter said. “The intention is to go when Tony is ready and when the macroeconomic climate allows the company to go.” The additional time may help Mr. Bates to get Skype in better shape and increase its value ahead of an offering. But there is also the risk the IPO market weakens, hurting Skype’s chance to go public or depressing the value of the company.
For Skype, the problem isn’t gaining users, it’s building lasting revenue and profit as Google and other competitors enter the space. In its initial IPO filing, the VoiP company made it clear that it was searching for ways to bring in more revenue. Skype has been building out additional enterprise products as well as introduce additional consumer-facing products that require payments.
Skype is on track to pass $1 billion in revenues this year (its revenue run-rate for 2010 is $800 million). As of last year, Skype was averaging 124 million active users a month, but only 8.1 million of them were paying.
While Skype seems focused on an IPO, the WSJ’s sources say that Skype’s owners could be open to a sale at $5 billion to $6 billion. And who has that sort of money handy? Google or Apple.
Skype is a software application that allows users to make voice and video calls and chats over the Internet. Calls to other users within the Skype service are free, while calls to both traditional landline telephones and mobile phones can be made for a fee using a debit-based user account system. Skype was founded by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis who were also the founders of the file sharing application Kazaa. Skype has also become popular for its additional...