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Analyzing Skype

eBay has now owned Skype for more than four full quarters.  How’s that little $4 billion flyer doing?

Answer: Pretty well, actually.  Not amazing, not terrible.  Pretty well.

eBay doesn’t release much Skype information, but we can still get a good snapshot:

  • After decelerating through Q2 last year, both revenue and user-growth are now reaccelerating.
  • If the current growth trajectory remains stable, the company should do $400-$500 million in revenue in 2007 (which would put the purchase price below 10X revenue–a far cry from the outrageous binge-buy that many commentators described).  I still think eBay was the wrong company to buy Skype and that the “synergy” story management cooked up to explain it was a joke, but the price is looking more reasonable all the time.
  • Monthly revenue per user is gradually increasing and now stands at about $0.13.

Want to see for yourself?  Fiddle with the future projections?  Then check out this free model, courtesy of Internet Outsider (now published on Google Docs and Spreadsheets).  See the second page, labeled “key,” for an explanation of how the model works and instructions on how to change the assumptions.

Skype Financial Model

(I’ve always been curious whether such models would be of general interest…I’m about to find out.  I was also curious about Google Docs and Spreadsheets.  Verdict?  Easy upload.  Lost some formatting, and the absence of a “cell contents” window is annoying, but overall pretty simple.)

ADDENDUM: This is the first time I’ve used Google Docs & Spreadsheets.   I’m not sure whether this allows anyone to use it (change assumptions, etc.).  Can someone please try signing into Google to see?  You’ll have to click “edit” in the lower righthand corner, then sign in.  The ideal arrangement would be to allow every user to save his or her own copy and then manipulate that one, so the assumptions in the base model don’t change.  Anyone know how to set that up?

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