msnbc.com news services
updated 8/22/2011 10:18:47 AM ET 2011-08-22T14:18:47

Skype is expanding before it gets absorbed by Microsoft Corp.

Skype said Monday that it plans to buy GroupMe, which provides group text messaging and calling. Privately held Skype did not say how much it will pay, but The Wall Street Journal reported that people familiar with the deal said the price tag is about $85 million.

Luxembourg-based Skype was founded in 2003, essentially as a way to make phone calls via the Internet. It is now looking to reach people on multiple platforms, and recently introduced group video and bought a mobile video provider called Qik. GroupMe was founded last year at a gathering called the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon.

Skype is itself being bought by Microsoft. The deal was announced in May and the companies hope to close by the end of this year.

(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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