That stance marked an about-face from Skype's position of only a week ago, when it flatly stated that it wasn’t for sale.
Skype on Thursday also released a new suite of services called the Skype Voice Services Program, which includes some features that could be attractive to online auctioneer eBay. The Skype program calls for opening its VoIP universe to content providers to develop applications of interest to the firm’s 53 million users.
Both Skype and eBay have enjoyed close relations with Silicon Valley venture capital firm Draper, Fisher, Jurvetson. The VC company is a major investor in Skype and in past years has participated in financings with eBay.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that unnamed sources said discussions between Skype and eBay were centered around a $2 to $3 billion price tag. Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post floated a $5 billion figure. Earlier media reports had Skype discussing acquisition with Murdoch’s News Corp, as well as with Microsoft and Yahoo.
Responding to a query on media reports of Skype-eBay discussions, a Skype spokesperson said in an e-mail: "Skype does not comment on rumors. Skype is focused on building a successful company for the long term."
Skype has experienced phenomenal growth with its more than 53 million users beginning to pay for some of its add-on services like voice mail as well as SkypeIn and SkypeOut, which link to non-Skype users on public switched telephone networks.
EBay has a current market valuation of about $55 billion.