Skype Files for IPO; Seeks $100 Million

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Skype, the online telephone company, filed to go public on the Nasdaq stock exchange with a goal of raising up to $100 million.

Skype, now based in the tax haven of Luxembourg, was founded in 2003 by a pair of Swedish technology entrepreneurs. eBay(EBAY) bought a majority stake in the startup in October 2005 and sold it four years later to a consortium of private-equity firms, including Silver Lake Partners, for about $2 billion.

Skype has registered the predictable high growth rates of such a well-known Internet company, though the pace has slowed amid the recession and as the company has matured. Skype took in $406 million in revenue in the first six months of this year, up 25% from the first half of 2009. The company’s annual year-over-year growth rates on the top line clocked in at 44% between 2007 and 2008, but slowed to about 14% between 2008 and 2009.

In the filing, Skype said it had adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in the first half of 2009 of about $116 million, up 54% from the $75.2 million it took in a year ago.

Skype’s popularity has continued to rise, especially in the realm of international long-distance communications. Of the estimated 406 billion minutes spent on international calls in 2009, Skype-to-Skype calls comprised 13%, according to a telecom industry consulting outfit called TeleGeograpy.

Three bulge-bracket firms — Goldman Sachs(GS), JPMorgan(JPM) and Morgan Stanley(MS) — will serve as lead underwriters on the float.

A slew of other investment-banking stalwarts will also take their piece of the high-profile tech IPO in secondary roles, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch(BAC), Barclays(BCS), Citigroup(C), Credit Suisse(CS) and Deutsche Bank(DB), among others.

Skype’s American depositary shares will be listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.

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