Skype's founders want it back

Skype's founders are reportedly looking to buy the company back from eBay, and are seeking to raise at least $1 billion to fund the acquisition.

Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis will also pool their resources to help fund the purchase, inside sources told   the New York Times.

The pair sold Skype to eBay for $2.6 billion in 2005, later receiving bonus payments of $500 million. After eBay wrote off a portion of the purchase, Skype is valued at $1.7 billion. Zennstrom and Friis have since created a VC firm Atomico and funded the online video service Joost.

Skype's user base has grown from 53 million in 2005 to over 405 million today. The company became  the world's largest long distance operator by minutes served in 2008 - accounting for 8% of all international traffic - and took in $145 million in revenue in Q4 alone.

But eBay has admitted that Skype doesn't fit well with its other businesses, and its CEO has repeatedly  indicated  his willingness to sell.

Skype's new  iPhone app was downloaded  more than a million times in less than two days, but some of the largest European and US operators have threatened to block  the app.