Online auction giant eBay has posted its first quarterly loss since 1999 after a $900m write-down relating to its now-famously misjudged acquisition of Skype.

The firm’s deficit for Q3 came in at $936m (£458m), although sales were up 30%. 

They totalled $1.83bn (£895m) as eBay’s other businesses – PayPal, eBay International, and the recently acquired StubHub – all performed well.

Chief executive Meg Whitman said it ”was a strong quarter”:

“The strength came from eBay International, PayPal merchant services, ticketing site StubHub, classifieds and advertising, which all performed above expectations.”

There were some problem signs for the company’s core auction business though – the number of users on eBay’s US site remained at 83m while the number of auction listings fell by 5%.

PayPal continues to grow, notching up $470m (£230m) in sales, up from $454m (£221m) in Q2, and a 35% increase on the same period in 2006. It now accounts for a quarter of the company’s revenues.

eBay said it would be reorganising Skype after announcing it was writing off $900m of the VoIP outfit’s value and paying $530m to Skype’s shareholders to meet obligations tied to the purchase.

Whitman told AP:

“We are disappointed – obviously – by the write-down, and we’re behind in terms of some financial metrics we had originally anticipated.”

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