Today, in what will undoubtedly be a blow to the Skype founders’ seller rating, eBay finally acknowledged that its bid for the VoIP firm may have been a tad overenthusiastic and that whatever expectations it had were not being met. EBay announced that in the quarter just ended, it will take $1.4 billion in write-offs and charges related to the Skype acquisition. About $530 million will go to former Skype shareholders to help them forget about those additional performance-based payouts. And eBay will write off about $900 million in Skype-related “goodwill” to more accurately reflect the acquisition’s value. And just in case the message wasn’t clear, Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom was eased out of the CEO’s office and given the non-executive chairman’s seat at the Skype board table.
That still leaves open the question of what eBay ought to do with its tarnished toy, and Henry Blodget has an answer: sell it to someone who could put it to use, like Yahoo, Microsoft or Google.