Days after Skype became the world's biggest carrier of international voice messages, its parent, eBay, announced plans to list the voice over internet protocol (VoIP) firm that it bought for $2.6bn in 2005.
The announcement follows reports that talks to sell the Luxembourg-based company to its founders, Swedes Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis had broken down.
Announcing the plan, which depends on market conditions, eBay CEO John Donahoe said Skype was a great stand-alone business with strong fundamentals and accelerating momentum, but it did not fit with eBay and PayPal.
In recent months Skype has been movinginto the business and mobile markets. Last month it launched Skype for SIP, which allows internet-enabled pbx owners to connect Skype users for free.
Donahoe said more than one million people downloaded Skype for iPhone in the first 36 hours after it became available. This rose to two million in just over a week, making Skype the most downloaded free iPhone application in more than 40 markets, including the US, UK and Japan, he said.
The iPhone app also added almost half a million new Skype users, pushing subscribers to more than 405 million from which it earned $551m, up 44% from 2007. Ebay said recently that it expected Skype to reach $1bn in revenue in 2011.
Donahoe said, "We believe operating Skype as a stand-alone publicly traded company is the best path for maximising its potential. This will give Skype the focus and resources required to continue its growth and effectively compete in online voice and video communications."
It would also let eBay concentrate on its auctions and on-line payments businesses.