Skype Acquisition of GroupMe: Expected to Close on Monday

There’s big news today in the group messaging service sector as we have heard of the Skype acquisition of GroupMe, a service that is only one-year-old. So far terms haven’t been revealed but apparently talks have been ongoing for several months while Microsoft was also in negotiations to get hold of Skype for around $8.5 billion. Those negotiations are still ongoing.

GroupMe raised $850,000 last year from a round of financing from companies such as Betaworks, SV Angel and First Round Capital and following this raised another $10.6 million from Khosla Ventures, General Catalyst and others. GroupMe was founded by Jared Hecht and Steve Martocci and currently has 20 employees based in New York and will remain there as part of the acquisition, according to Michael Arrington over on TechCrunch. It’s intended that GroupMe will remain a standalone brand with integration further down the line.

Tony Bates, Skype CEO, said via a Skype video call with Tech Crunch, “The group messaging space in general is one of the most important markets for Skype. GroupMe creates a very sticky instant feeling. Like Skype, it is an everyday interactive form of communication. Skype’s goal is to get to 1 billion users. Mobile is the place to do that.”

Charlie White over on Mashable also reports on this Skype acquisition and part of the Skype announcement reads, “The acquisition of GroupMe complements Skype’s leadership in voice and video communications by providing best in class text-based communications and innovative features that enable users to connect, share locations and photos and make plans with their closest ties.”

The smartphone group messaging service is a somewhat crowded market at present and it will be interesting to see what Skype and GroupMe get out of this latest development. We’d like to hear your thoughts on this so let us have your comments.