Skype Snatches Messaging Service GroupMe

Skype scooped up start-up GroupMe on Monday for an undisclosed price as the Internet-calling service looks to bulk up ahead of its integration into tech heavyweight Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT).

Based in New York and founded last year, GroupMe provides free mobile software that allows users to send text messages and make conference calls with groups of contacts.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the buyout was worth about $80 million and is expected to close Monday.

The deal will give GroupMe access to Skypes 175 million monthly connected users.

Originally, Skype and GroupMe had discussions about a commercial partnership, but the talks evolved into buyout negotiations.

Both companies are focused on changing the way the world communicates, and helping people stay in touch with the people they really know, GroupMe said in a blog entry. With a shared visionan ambitious onewe decided our efforts to own real-time communications and the real life network could be best executed as one company.

GroupMes investors include a number of venture-capital and angel investor firms, including Khosla Ventures, First Round Capital, Betaworks, SV Angel and Lerer Ventures.

The GroupMe acquisition comes three months after Skype agreed to sell itself to software titan Microsoft for $8.5 billion. That deal was already signed off on by the Federal Trade Commission in June, but is still awaiting approval from other regulators.

"Skype and GroupMe have a shared vision of creating applications and experiences that are the daily communications choice for a billion people. We will continue to seek the top talent and technology to make that vision a reality," Skype CEO Tony Bates said in a statement.

Shares of Microsoft were up 1.29% to $24.36 ahead of Mondays opening bell, mirroring broad gains in the premarkets.