Mark Andressen to buy Skype?
VoIP provider Skype, whose corporate parent eBay has said it will spin off in an IPO in spring 2010, may be subject to a private offer from Netscape founder Marc Andressen's new venture capital firm and other private equity groups.
Andressen Horowitz, Andressen's new firm, would have to join with other firms to raise the €1.39 billion Skype is seeking for the unit, according to a report on the TechCrunch blog.
Skype currently is facing a legal challenge from Joltid, a separate company still owned by Skype co-founders Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom, over the underlying software that powers Skype.
The court case has been seen as potentially devastating to Skype, but others disagree.
It's also possible that the Joltid case is a leverage tool to bring the company back to the cofounders, who already have expressed their desire to buy Skype back from eBay.
Perhaps they could even join with Andressen's group to bid on the VoIP company.
Either way, despite claims that Skype's reported figure of 450 million registered users might be bogus, the company is still on track to rake in more than €419 million in 2009, according to eBay financial reports.
An eventual Skype IPO could be one of the most publicized and potentially lucrative tech offerings in some time.