Microsoft agrees to buy Skype for $8.5 billion to add Web calls

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) agreed to buy Skype Technologies SA for $8.5 billion in cash to gain the world’s most popular Internet calling service and its 663 million customers.

Microsoft will acquire Luxembourg-based Skype from an investor group led by Silver Lake, the companies said in a statement today. The agreement was approved by the boards of directors of both companies.

The takeover may help Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer attract Web users and narrow Google Inc. (GOOG)’s lead in Internet advertising.

Full story: Microsoft Agrees to Buy Skype for $8.5 Billion to Add Web Calls – Bloomberg