skypeeBay announced this morning that they’ll be selling a majority stake (65%) of Skype to Silver Lake Partners and others for $1.9 billion. The deal values the world’s largest international phone company (by revenue and minutes) at $2.92 billion, a 12% premium over the company’s original acquisition price of $2.6 billion, although a much higher premium over eBay’s valuation on the balance sheet.

Note that Skype’s goodwill was written down by $900 million (35%) in October 2007.

Silver Lake Partners are the private equity firm that also owns Avaya and is presumably behind Avaya’s┬ástalking horse bid on Nortel Enterprise.

Don’t forget how private equity works. PE firms buy companies at (supposedly) distressed prices, saddle them with the debt of their purchase prices and then operate them to high profitability standards that generate dividends for their partners. So, Skype will have to generate earnings that can service $1.9 billion in debt. Can they?

If $153 million in Q1 earnings was any indication, Skype sure can service that debt…

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