Opera gets $1.2B acquisition offer from Chinese Consortium led by Qihoo 360
Opera Software, the company behind one of the popular mobile web browsers, today announced that it has received a $1.2 billion acquisition offer from Chinese Consortium led by Qihoo 360 and Kunlun Tech. The offer represents a 53 percent premium on the company’s latest valuation.
Although the deal is conditional upon approval by the general meeting of Kulun and is also subject to government approvals, Opera’s board has “unanimously decided to recommend” its shareholders to accept the offer.
Olso, Norway-headquartered Opera has signed an agreement with Shenzhen-based Golden Brick, which has partners including Kunlun, Qihoo and Yonglian. The company is considering the deal as the “most attractive proposition” for its shareholders and employees. Moreover, the offer comes as a result of the structured process that was aimed to explore various strategic opportunities after missing the revenue forecasts in August last year.
“There is strong strategic and industrial logic to the acquisition of Opera by the Consortium,” said Lars Boilesen, Opera CEO, in a press statement. “We believe that the Consortium, with its breadth of expertise and strong market position in emerging markets, will be a strong owner of Opera. The Consortium’s ownership will strengthen Opera’s position to serve our users and partners with even greater innovation, and to accelerate our plans of expansion and growth.”
Opera is already among the most dominant players in the world of mobile web browsers. But in the recent past, it faced difficulties due to slower growth in its mobile advertising business.
An effective move
The deal is appeared to be an effective move for Opera. It would help the Norwegian company expand its presence in China as well as enhance its advertising business through online game publisher Kulun and internet giant Qihoo.
“Under its excellent management team, Opera has made remarkable achievements in recent years in the fields of mobile browser and mobile advertising,” Kunlun chairman and CEO Yahui Zhou said in a statement. “Kunlun has always been a pioneer in international growth among its Chinese internet peers, and has already obtained a large market share in Asia, Europe and other markets. Our partner, Qihoo, operates one of the largest online open platforms with significant expertise in offering online advertising and internet value-added services. By combining Opera with Kunlun, Qihoo, and Golden Brick, the Consortium will join forces and solidify our leadership position in the international internet space.”
Opera’s mobile web browsers, including Opera Mini and Opera Coast, are already taking on UC Browser, which has been developed by Alibaba Group-owned UCWeb. In the entire web browser portfolio, Opera Mini is quite popular especially on Android platform as it offers data saving features and delivers a multi-lingual web browsing experience on mobile devices.
Apart from mobile browsers, Opera has data management app Opera Max. The company also has a desktop browser that is facing a tough competition from Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox.
The new development was expected following Opera delayed its earnings release, and Oslo stock exchange halted trading its shares last week. As the company has scheduled its earnings call for later Wednesday, it would publicise more details about the offer.