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8/30/2005
05:23 PM
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Skype Insists It Is Not For Sale; IPO Another Question

The "for sale" rumors have been circulating in recent days along with the report that the firm has hired investment banking firm Morgan Stanley & Co. to perhaps float an IPO.

VoIP provider Skype Technologies is actively seeking to quell rumors that the company is for sale.

In an email exchange with TechWeb, a public relations representative for the company in the U.S, said flatly: “Skype is not for sale.”

The “for sale” rumors have been circulatinging in recent days along with the report that the Luxembourg-based firm has hired investment banking firm Morgan Stanley & Co. to examine its options including floating an IPO.

Skype did not comment beyond saying the firm is not for sale.

The comments come just days after U.S. VoIP firm Vonage Holdings was said to be planning an IPO. Vonage has declined to comment on any such plans.

Skype said more than two million subscribers have signed up for its paid services, which include SkypeOut and SkypeIn calls between Skype and non-Skype users. Skype calls among subscribers are free and the Internet phoning company claims that more than 51 million persons use the service.

Although Skype and Vonage are both VoIP providers, their business plans are vastly different and the two firms rarely compete with each other. Vonage serves the U.S. market almost exclusively, although it has been making some initial forays into international markets while Skype has been popular in international markets.

While each firm is dominant in its respective market, competitors are emerging. Vonage has faced some challenges from AT&T, now part of SBC Communications, and from the remaining former Bell Operating Companies, Verizon, BellSouth, and Qwest. So far, Skype has eclipsed a host of smaller independent VoIP competitors although search engine powerhouse Google announced last week that it will offer a VoIP service.

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