Skype - the ultimate cash cow for its shareholders despite no profits yet

So it has finally happened, despite a fair few months of speculation as to whether Skype would list or which of the high-profile internet-associated companies would end up buying it, Microsoft swooped yesterday.

What's quite staggering about this deal is that it is Skype’s third high-profile, high-value (i.e. $1bn+) deal in the last six years.

Not bad for a company that still hasn't recorded a profit.

So let's track its deal history so far; three rounds of funding between 2003 and 2004, then eBay paid $3.5bn for it in September 2005. This deal clearly didn't go quite as planned with eBay selling 70% of the company back to its founders backed by a consortium of private equity firms including Silver Lake Partners, for just over $2bn in late 2009. And now Microsoft has offered over $8.5bn in cash for the company.
 
Only time will tell if this acquisition catapults Microsoft back into the group of hip and trendy internet-associated businesses like Google, Facebook and LinkedIn.