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Skype Files for $100 Million IPO

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Skype, the popular VoIP and videoconferencing service, this week announced plans for an initial public offering that could help it raise more than $100 million, according to the company's S-1 filingwith the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Company officials said Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley will underwrite the offering. As of Monday, the company did not disclose the expected price range for the publicly traded shares nor did it set a specific date for the IPO. However, according to its filing, it registered $100 million in American depository shares with the SEC.

Less than a year ago, eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) sold off its majority stake in Skype for $1.9 billionto a group of investors led by venture capital firm Silver Lake that also includes Index Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Investment Board. eBay still holds a 35-percent stake in the Luxembourg-based company.

In March, Skype got a big boost when Nokia said it would support the service on its line of Symbian-based smartphonesfor both Wi-Fi and wireless networks and would appear on Nokia's Ovi mobile downloads store.

In its filing, Skype made it clear that it will need more deals with smartphone makers and service providers in order to drive sales and profits going forward.

"Our business strategy depends on our ability to continue to offer our products on a mobile platform," Skype said in the filing. "Mobile network operators may be reluctant to partner with us or allow our products to be used on their devices due to concerns about cannibalizing their business. We have already faced such reluctance by mobile network operators, particularly in European markets, in relation to VoIP and peer-to-peer applications generally."

Skype, which claims more than 120 million users, said it facilitated more than 95 billion calling minutes worldwide in the first half of this year.

Larry Barrett is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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