WASHINGTON, SAN FRANCISCO, BRUSSELS, AND LONDON, May 10, 2011 —Covington & Burling LLP is advising Microsoft Corp. in its acquisition of Skype Global S.à.r.l., the leading Internet communications company, for $8.5 billion in cash.
Microsoft’s purchase of Skype from the investor group led by Silver Lake is expected to increase the accessibility of real-time video and voice communications, benefiting both consumers and enterprise users.
The acquisition is the largest ever for Microsoft, the worldwide software leader founded in 1975. Skype, a pioneer in Internet communications, reported 170 million connected users and over 207 billion minutes of voice and video conversations in 2010.
Under the agreement, Skype will become a new business division within Microsoft. Skype will support a wide array of Microsoft devices such as Xbox, Kinect, and Windows Phone. Microsoft will connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live, and other communities.
The Covington team, based in San Francisco, Brussels, London and Washington, was led by intellectual property partners Evan Cox and Bruce Deming. The team included associates Ingrid Rechtin, Bobby Lutzker, Brad Chernin and Paula Domingos (intellectual property and commercial), partner Yaron Dori and associate Elizabeth Canter (telecommunications), special counsel Miranda Cole (telecommunications and antitrust), partners Dan Cooper and Henriette Tielemanns (data privacy), partner Lars Kjølbye (antitrust), and partner Michael Markman (patent).