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Rumor: Microsoft to buy Skype for $8.5 billion?

It looks like GigaOm's sources might have been on the right track on Sunday when it reported that Microsoft was in talks with the team behind the VoIP Internet phone software business Skype. The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that a deal is close to being struck that will see Microsoft acquire Skype. AllThingsDigital has reported that the deal is in fact done with the story claiming that the asking price could be as high as $8.5 billion.

The storiesm which use unnamed sources, do seem to agree that an official announcement could happen as soon as Tuesday. The Wall Street Journal story says that the the massive price tag would make it among the highest priced acquisitions in Microsoft's history. Previous to tonight, Skype was rumored to also be in talks with Facebook and Google but apparently the huge price Microsoft was willing to pay for Skype may have won out.

Of course this isn't Skype first rodeo in terms of being bought by a bigger company. After being founded in 2003, the online auction site eBay purchased Skype in 2005 for $2.6 billion. However eBay didn't see to know what to do with Skype and sold off a 70 percent stake to several investment firms in 2007 while also taking a $1.6 billion charge. The article points out that if the Microsoft deal goes through those investment firms will get a huge return on their money. Skype did have plans to go public in 2011 but obviously those plans may now be moot.

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