Everyone is buzzing over the huge and somewhat surprising Microsoft - Skype acquisition. The software giant intends to buy the VoIP provider for $8.5 billion in cash, a big premium over current valuations for Skype.
The $8.5 billion Microsoft is paying will be divided among several investment firms and a couple of companies.
It could be a smart business move for Microsoft and, with some luck, it may turn out to be a good investment, despite the huge chunk of cash it will pay for it.
In the meantime though, several people are now significantly richer including Skype's founders who have sold the company for the second time for another big pile of money.
Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, the two founders of Skype, sold the company to eBay for $3 billion way back in 2005. The move turned out to be a poorly thought out one for eBay which didn't manage to integrate Skype as it intended and also failed to make it profitable.
eBay later spun off Skype and intended to file for an IPO, but Skype's founders had another idea and sued eBay over some contractual issues
The strategy worked as eBay eventually relented and sold 70 percent of Skype for $1.9 billion
to several of venture capital firms and Joltid Limited, a company owned by the two Skype founders.
The big investors in Skype were Silver Lake and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board along with Andreessen Horowitz which has a smaller stake.
The latter invested in 2009 about $65 million which is now worth about $200 million. Put together, the venture capital firms controlled 56 percent of Skype, worth about $4.5 billion of Microsoft cash.
The Skype founders, through the company they control, had a 14 percent stake in the company earning them another $1.1 billion even though they invested significantly less than that. It's the second time the two have sold Skype for quite a huge chunk of change.
Finally, eBay is not having a bad day either. Criticized in 2005 for overpaying for Skype, something that's clearly going to happen to Microsoft too, it ended up selling the 70 percent stake for less than it had initially paid for it. But the 30 percent it held on to is now worth $2.4 billion. Along with the $1.9 billion it got in 2009, the Skype deal actually paid off for the company.