eBay Inc. (Nasdaq:EBAY) has announced this morning that Niklas Zennstrom has stepped down as CEO of Skype. Zennstrom, who co-founded Skype in 2003, will become non-executive chairman of the Skype Board of Directors. Michael van Swaaij, eBay’s Chief Strategy Officer, will become acting CEO until a permanent successor is found. Henry Gomez, Skype’s President, who remained a Senior Vice President at eBay during his two-year tenure at Skype, will return to eBay as Senior Vice President for Corporate Affairs, reporting to President and CEO Meg Whitman.
eBay also announced that it has paid approximately $530 million (in Europe) to settle all of its future obligations under the earn-out agreement signed with certain Skype shareholders when eBay acquired Skype in 2005. eBay expects that the approximately $530 million payment, together with an additional amount of approximately $900 million, will be taken as an impairment charge to be recorded as part of its Q3 financial results.
This likely won’t impact non-GAAP earnings per share by anything drastic but will create a change to analysts’ cash flow expectations and to GAAP net income expectations for the quarter. Interestingly enough, eBay lists over $6.9 Billion in Goodwill of its entire $14.36 Billion assets. The good news is that it only listed $2.8 Billion in total liabilities at the end of last quarter (before these charges of course), so the online auction king can quite easily ride this one out.
- We have covered its "BUY IT NOW" patent fight;
- We noted the Cramer call for it to merge with Yahoo!;
- and even noted its Skype selling at Wal-Mart.
Jon C. Ogg
October 1, 2007