Back in 2005, eBay was as big a name as Google, and mainstream media was all over it. Then, eBay purchased Skype for the tune of 2.6 billion USD, paying $47 for each of 55 million users. Today, Skype has 400 million users and eBay decided to spin it off to the stock market. We will see how investors will react to the company that achieved 500M+ revenue on 400M users. Then again, a lot of "web 2.0" companies don't have any sort of business model sans selling themselves, so one could argue that Skype is in a good position.
This was an answer to proposed management buyout lead by Skype's founders, Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom - IPO [International Public Offering] is set to take place in 12 months from now, sometime in March 2010. Announcing the IPO in the next 12 months is a brave move for eBay, meaning that the company believes in market recovery by that time. A successful IPO could clear the road for Twitter, Facebook, Digg and other members of the Web 2.0 wave.
This was not the only change coming from eBay. The auction giant also spun off StumbleUpon, a popular news service for browsing the internet's random sites. The purchase of StumbleUpon happened in 2007, and in the past two years, we didn't see any strong marketing push from the makers of this news aggregator. eBay could get its investment back, with the only danger being W-shape recovery, e.g. if the markets crash once more during this recovery. According to researches we spoke with, crash could happen if the oil gets back in the $80-100 range.