After delaying its IPO until the second half of this year, Skype is now said to be in deals talks with Facebook and Google.
Both companies are apparently trying to form joint ventures with the video-calling company, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also considered buying Skype outright, sources in the know tell Reuters.
But with dozens of reports about Google and other companies trying (and failing) to buy Skype over the past few years, it’s difficult to tell if things will be any different this time around.
A Skype deal could be valued between $3 billion and $4 billion, while the company expects to raise around $1 billion from its IPO, the sources say.
Last fall, Skype added the ability to log-in with Facebook Connect, which made it easier for users to call and video chat with their Facebook friends. A further deal with Skype could bring the service directly into Facebook so that users can call their contacts without leaving the web browser. That’s a feature already offered inside of Gmail with Google Talk, but it’s not difficult to imagine how Google could take advantage of Skype’s massive user base and brand recognition with a joint venture.
In the long run, Google may have more to gain from a relationship with Skype, especially as it’s attempting to take on the iPhone’s FaceTime video chat with Google Talk on Android phones. Skype also recently brought video chat to its iPhone app, while Skype video chat on Android phones is limited to only a few devices.