eBay is to separate Skype off in an initial public offering scheduled to begin in 2010.

The news comes just days after StumbleUpon announced it has bought itself back from eBay, with the auction giant deciding to focus on its core business of e-commerce and online payments.

eBay bought Skype back in September 2005 for $2.6 billion in up-front cash as well as eBay stock, but has come under criticism for not realising the potential of the VoIP company.

"Skype is a great stand-alone business with strong fundamentals and accelerating momentum", said eBay CEO, John Donahoe.

"But it's clear that Skype has limited synergies with eBay and PayPal. We believe operating Skype as a stand-alone publicly traded company is the best path for maximizing its potential. This will give Skype the focus and resources required to continue its growth and effectively compete in online voice and video communications".

"In addition, separating Skype will allow eBay to focus entirely on our two core growth engines - e-commerce and online payments - and deliver long-term value to our stockholders".