On Sunday we broke the news that Skype was acquiring group messaging service GroupMe. What we didn’t know was the price, and neither company disclosed any of the terms of the deal other than that GroupMe would remain a standalone brand for now, and the team would stay in New York.
A widely spread report said that Skype paid as much as $85 million for the year-old company. We’ve heard this number is a bit high, and includes an earnout or deferred payments. What’s the real price?
Our sources close to the companies say the initial payment for GroupMe is $43 million, and deferred payments (or an earnout) can get the GroupMe shareholders as much as $68 million over four years. The founders will receive another few million dollars as part of their long term employment agreements.
Why the difference? No idea. But I have a high degree of confidence that Skype will pay somewhere between $43 million and $68 million for GroupMe. Which is one heck of a win for the founders and investors, who put $11.5 million into the company.
As an aside, when we add estimated acquisition prices to CrunchBase, we usually put in the higher number instead of a range. I like being optimistic, and we can always edit it downward later if new information becomes available.