Skype filed a registration for Initial Public Offering (IPO) today, filing a form S-1 registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The number of shares and price range are yet to be determined, but Skype is looking to raise $100 million in the IPO according to the paperwork. According to their press release:
Goldman, Sachs & Co., J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. and Morgan Stanley & Co. Incorporated will be the joint global coordinators as well as joint book-running managers for the offering. BofA Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital Inc., Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC and Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. will also be acting as joint book-running managers. Lazard Capital Markets LLC, RBC Capital Markets Corporation and UBS Securities LLC will be acting as joint lead co-managers; Allen & Company LLC and Evercore Group LLC will be acting as co-managers for the offering.
It no huge shocker that Skype is taking this step. They have made a lot of money over the past couple of years and their numbers will only continue to accelerate. They have a loyal user base of about 124 million active users (the total number of registered users is 560 million). Of the 124 million, 8.1 are monthly subscribers who pay $96 per year on average.
Besides being successful as a stand-alone product, Skype also has its claws in the mobile industry where it can continue to grow its customers by offering competitive rates for calls over data and not waste minutes. They are also expanding into unexpected areas, as we see in their deals with television makers. SkypeKit makes it easy for any device manufacturer to add Skype support.
One major reason we may be seeing Skype going for the IPO now is the settlement of a major set of lawsuits. About a decade ago, IDT acquired Net2Phone and their VoIP technology. Six years later, 2006, Net2Phone files a patent infringement lawsuit against Skype. In 2008, eBay (owner of Skype at that point) turns around and sues IDT. Just this June, IDT filed a civil antitrust complaint against Skype. The most interesting part is that the lawsuit was just settled last week. Skype paid out $343.8 million to acquire their software, clearing the road for the current IPO.