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Skype calls litigation to a close

by Sylvie Barak on 9 November 2009, 14:18

Tags: Skype, eBay

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qaur5

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Ring in the new

Calling weeks of drama to a close, Skype has announced its legal battles between its founders and investors is finally over.

The VoIP service's founders, Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, who also founded Joltid, have finally reached a settlement with the investor group buying Skype from eBay, dropping the lawsuit which could well have nixed the deal.

President of Skype, Josh Silverman, said on his blog that the settlement was "very exciting news," which had "extremely positive implications," for the firm.

"We will now have ownership of the software previously licensed from Joltid, so we'll be in control of our technology future," he said, adding that all litigation against eBay, Skype and the investor group had ended.

The agreement reached means Zennström and Friis will join the investor group and the Skype board with a 14 per cent stake in the company they founded before selling it to eBay. The stake, however, will include an investment from the pair.

In return, Zennström and Friis will finally let Skype use the software it needs to run properly, dropping a number of lawsuits against eBay and co.

"We'll benefit from their expertise, vision and continued commitment to making Skype a long-term success," said Silverman, adding that the deal was instrumental in "clearing the road ahead."

eBay's CEO, John Donahoe, was also chuffed by the results of the deal, noting that  "Skype will be well positioned to move forward under new owners with ownership and control over its core technology." 

Donahoe went on to say that now the deal was closed, eBay could focus "on growing our core e-commerce and payments businesses."

In an interesting twist, however, Index Ventures, which had been instrumental in setting the deal up, announced it would be leaving the consortium of investors taking a majority stake in Skype. Danny Rimer of Index Ventures said that while his firm was "pleased" Skype had finally put the litigation behind it, "the deal terms changed for Index such that it no longer matches our investment criteria and thus we have decided not to participate in the transaction."

In other words, don't call us, we'll call you.

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