Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Opera Browser To be sold to Chinese Consortium for $1.2 billion

Norway-based Opera Software has received a $1.2 billion acquisition offer from a group of Chinese companies, and has indicated it intends to accept.

The company on Wednesday said its board is unanimously recommending shareholders approve the takeover, which will give the browser-maker a stronger push into China under new stewardship.

The Chinese consortium in question includes Chinese Internet security company Qihoo 360, Internet-firm Beijing Kunlun (who invested roughly $93 million into Grindr earlier in the year) and investment funds Golden Brick and Yonglian.

According to Opera, the $1.2 billion figure is a premium of approximately 56 per cent when compared to Opera's stock during the last 30 trading days.

Despite claiming 350 million users, the company's browser has struggled in the oversaturated western market. China could be a profitable venture for Opera, thanks in part to Google's Chrome browser not coming preinstalled on Android phones there there like it is elsewhere, but doing business in the country without local partners is nigh impossible. Through the partnership, Opera will be able to leverage the networks of Kunlun and Qihoo 360 to better penetrate the Chinese market.

"There is strong strategic and industrial logic to the acquisition of Opera by the Consortium," said Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera. "We believe that the Consortium, with its breadth of expertise and strong market position in emerging markets, will be a strong owner of Opera."

Opera, founded over 20 years ago in 1995, was one of the first proper online businesses, releasing its namesake browser in 1997. Though it was never top dog, there has always been a strong, loyal following for its light, speedy software.

The company also made one of the first true mobile browsers, which was one of the best in the early days of Android. In recent years, Opera has been mainly focusing on its advertising and data compression technology, Opera Max.

At this point, the company still needs the go-ahead of its shareholders and government entities before the buyout can be finalised.

Source CNET 



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