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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Skype CEO Tony Bates announce the $8.5 billion acquisition in May.

Skype has reportedly dismissed a series of top executives — including four vice presidents, and the heads of human resources and marketing — in advance of the company’s acquisition by Microsoft. Bloomberg News reported on the news tonight, confirming and expanding upon a story originally broken by news site Skype Journal.

The move is a surprise in part because Skype is expected to operate as its own division inside Microsoft following the completion of the $8.5 billion deal — the largest in the Redmond company’s history. While it’s not unusual to see management changes accompany major acquisitions, it would have made sense for Skype to retain its existing executives to continue operating the business inside Microsoft.

Bloomberg, citing anonymous sources, notes that the dismissals reduce the amount that Skype will need to pay the execs as part of the Microsoft deal.

Skype CEO Tony Bates remains at the helm of the company. He is slated to become president of Microsoft’s new Skype Division.

Microsoft declined to comment on the reports in response to our inquiry, a customary practice when a deal is still pending. A Skype spokesman acknowledged to Bloomberg that the company has made management changes, without getting into specifics.

The dismissed Skype execs reportedly include David Gurle, the vice president in charge of Skype Enterprise, who had worked previously in Microsoft’s real-time communications and collaboration group. So much for the homecoming.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission last week gave clearance to the acquisition, which still requires U.S. Justice Department approval.

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