There is a good likelihood that Skype; its founders, Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis; and a group of private equity investors led by Silver Lake Partners are close to settling their legal disputes, allowing eBay to sell 65 percent of Skype for about $2 billion. I had first reported the news this past weekend. As part of the settlement, Zennstrom and Friis are likely to get a board representation, and there is some talk of Index Ventures being out of the deal as well.
Zennstrom and Friis have been locked in a bitter dispute over the use of the Global Index, a key technology owned by JoltID, a company jointly controlled by the Skype founders. eBay, in a stunning breach of fiduciary duty, didn’t buy this technology when it acquired Skype four years ago.
From the way it is understood, Zennstrom and Friis will have a board seat on the newly independent Skype, which would be allowed to use JoltID’s technology. In addition, there is a good chance that Index Ventures, one of the primary architects of the buyout, will not be part of the new deal. Mike Volpi, former CEO of Joost, isn’t likely to be part of the new enterprise.
I am not surprised that Index and Volpi have been left out in the cold. There’s no love lost between Skype co-founders and the Index group. If you read through some of the emails that were submitted along with legal documents filed in support of Joost’s case against Volpi and Index, then you know why.
Some details of the story were reported by the New York Times today. Please check out my previous report on the Skype’s legal fracas, as well, which includes a timeline of events.