Microsoft has agreed to acquire online telecom company Skype for $8.5 billion (£5.2 billion). The two companies hope to complete the deal by the end of the year, subject to regulatory clearance. Skype will become a new business division within Microsoft, led by current Skype CEO Tony Bates who’ll become President of the Microsoft Skype Division.
Skype, which was founded in 2003, was acquired by eBay in 2005. It was then sold to an investment group in late 2009. In 2010, Skype reported it had 170 million users and carried 207 billion minutes of voice and video conversations.
Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, said “Skype is a phenomenal service that is loved by millions of people around the world. Together we will create the future of real-time communications so people can easily stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues anywhere in the world. Tony Bates has a great track record as a leader and will strengthen the Microsoft management team. I’m looking forward to Skype’s talented global workforce bringing its insights, ideas and experience to Microsoft.”