Members of Skype’s investor syndicate are adamantly denying the Sunday Bloomberg story that implied that several Skype executives were fired because private equity firm Silver Lake Partners wanted to save a few bucks paying out the proceeds of the Microsoft-Skype deal.
We spoke with one just now who reiterated what other unnamed investors have said in the press this morning: That the decision was 100% Tony Bates’ call. Until the Microsoft deal closes, he has to run Skype like a stand alone company, and these were all executives he’d been considering firing for performance for some time. The timing had more to do with how long it took to go through the process than anything else, this investor said.
And, he noted, that these were all people on the business side of the house, not the technical side of the house. That indicates he was trying to fix part of the company wasn’t working, rather than a wholesale firing of people who stood to get big payouts.
This investor went further to say that there was absolutely zero board discussion about firing these executives, directly countering Bloomberg’s claim that directors were weighing in on who should be fired.
And here’s the kicker: The executives in question will be receiving 75% of what they would have made off the sale anyway. The remaining 25% is such a small amount of money that it wouldn’t even register on Silver Lake’s radar, this investor said. Or as this person put it more bluntly: “It wouldn’t have been worth the time to make the phone call, not to mention Tony would have told them to fuck off anyway.”