Founders’ stake gives them $1.2bn windfall

Steve Dinneen
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Skype founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis will probably still be out celebrating this morning. Their company, Joltid, owns a stake which has been valued at $1.2bn (£730m) in Microsoft’s eye-watering $8.5bn swoop; to be paid in cold, hard cash.

The sale is the second windfall the two have received from their online video calling service, the first coming after the sale of Skype to eBay for around $3.1bn. Legal action followed after a spat over who owned intellectual property rights.

The pair then joined a consortium that bought back a majority stake in Skype after eBay struggled to integrate it into its online auction services.

The pair met while working for European telecom operator Tele2. In 2001 they co-founded peer-to-peer file sharing application Kazaa. After a legal confrontation with rights holders Kazaa was sold to Sharman Networks.

Zennström and Friis, aged just 45 and 35, founded several other technology firms, most notable Joltid which they still operate, before their greatest achievement – Skype.