Page last updated at 22:03 GMT, Tuesday, 14 April 2009 23:03 UK

EBay plans Skype public listing

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EBay says it had limited synergies with Skype

Online auction site eBay is planning to spin off internet call service provider Skype and list shares in the firm in the first half of 2010.

EBay said Skype was a "great stand-alone" firm but had "limited synergies" with the online auction firm.

When eBay bought Skype for $2.6bn (£1.7bn) in October 2005, many analysts thought the price was too high.

Skype's software lets PC users talk to each other for free and make cut-price calls to mobiles and landlines.

It also enables Skype users to share files.

The firm said publicly listing Skype would "maximise its potential".

The firm said the plan to spin off Skype was part of a schedule set out by John Donahoe when he became chief executive of eBay in April last year.

Since being acquired, the number of registered Skype users has hit 405 million from 53 million, though free user-to-user calls still dominate the service.

Unlike traditional mobile calls, which are transmitted over a cellular network, Skype turns your voice into data and sends it over the internet.

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