Tech giant Microsoft has closed its US$8.5bn acquisition of internet telephony provider Skype, Microsoft has announced. Skype will function as a new business division within Microsoft.
Microsoft and Skype will remain focused on connecting people across all devices and accelerating both companies’ efforts to transform real-time communications for consumers and enterprise customers.
“Skype is a phenomenal product and brand that is loved by hundreds of millions of people around the world,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. “We look forward to working with the Skype team to create new ways for people to stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues — anytime, anywhere.”
Skype CEO Tony Bates will assume the title of president of the Skype Division of Microsoft immediately, reporting directly to Ballmer.
The Skype division will continue to offer its current products to millions of users globally. Longer term, Skype will also be integrated across Microsoft products to broaden Skype’s reach and accelerate its growth as a fundamental way people communicate online.
Skype employees will continue to be located around the world, with offices in Estonia, the Czech Republic, Russia, Sweden, Luxembourg, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, the UK and the US.
“By bringing together the best of Microsoft and the best of Skype, we are committed to empowering consumers and businesses around the globe to connect in new ways,” Bates said. “Together, we will be able to accelerate Skype’s goal to reach 1bn users daily,” Bates said.
Investor group Silver Lake led negotiations of the definitive agreement under which Microsoft would acquire Skype. The transaction was originally announced on 10 May 2011.
The acquisition remains under review in a few countries, and will be completed in those countries when such reviews are closed.