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Jun 18, 2011 7:57 PM by Matt Stafford

FTC lets Microsoft proceed with purchase of Skype

The Federal Trade Commission is letting software giant Microsoft Corp. proceed with its largest deal ever, an $8.5 billion bid for web chat and call service Skype.

The FTC announced Friday that it had finished its review of the buyout so it can proceed if the Department of Justice also approves. Both agencies must review any deal worth more than $65.2 million, according to the FTC's website.

Microsoft already has a Skype-like service called Windows Live. But Skype lets users of different kinds of computers and phones chat directly. The deal could let Microsoft sell more digital advertising and offer more popular business conferencing tools.

Microsoft's bid is more than three times Skype's value 18 months ago when eBay Inc. sold a two thirds stake to private equity firm Silver Lake.

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