Microsoft 'set to buy Skype'

Wall Street Journal reports agreement close on $7bn acquisition.

Microsoft could announce a deal to acquire Internet telephony leader Skype as early as Tuesday (May 10), according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The deal is expected to be worth around $7bn (£4.3bn), more than twice the $3.1bn online auction group Ebay paid to acquire the VOIP company in 2005. Following criticism that it had overpaid, Ebay later sold on a majority stake in Skype for less than $2bn.

Both Skype and Microsoft refused to comment on Monday evening as the WSJ story broke.

According to Skype’s most recent user numbers, 145 million user names were used to make calls in the last quarter of 2010. A typical day sees just less than 29 million people log in to its service.

Microsoft’s existing VOIP efforts have been focused around its Lync platform This has failed to build much of a consumer base although it has had some greater success in the enterprise market.

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