Chinese Companies Make Offer to Acquire Opera Software

Opera might not be the most popular browser on Earth, but apparently somebody thinks it has potential.

A consortium of Chinese Internet companies, among them Kunlun and Qihoo 360, plan to acquire Norwegian company Opera Software in a buyout valued at $1.2 billion US Dollars. Rumors about a potential acquisition of Opera Software, or a sale of company assets, have circulated around the Internet as early as 2012. While there has surely been interest by many companies to acquire Opera Software, no offer has been made publicly until yesterday.

The Chinese Internet company consortium values the browser maker at $1.2 billion, a premium of 53% over Opera Software’s current stock market value before trading was stopped.

According to Re/code, Opera’s board recommended to shareholders unanimously to approve the takeover offer. Opera shareholders and government entities need to approve the deal.

Opera Software will release earnings today, and the company’s shares cannot be traded currently as the Oslo Stock Exchange Supervision stopped trading after the offer was mentioned in a Norwegian newspaper.

opera browser

Opera Software, best known for its desktop and mobile browsers, changed from a browser developer to a company that makes most of its revenue from advertisement. The company acquired several key players in the advertising field in recent years, and managed to get a foothold into the compression market as well offering state of the art compression technologies.

Opera Software’s latest acquisition, the VPN provider SurfEasy, has been integrated into the company’s web browser.

Qihoo 360 is a Chinese Internet security company known for its antivirus software, web browser and mobile application store. The company has 4200 employees and hundreds of millions of users are using its Internet Security and Mobile Antivirus products as of 2014 according to Wikipedia.

Kunlun Inc is a leading developer of web games and mobile games with offices in China, Europe and North America and other locations.

It is unclear right now how this will affect development of the Opera browser if the acquisition is approved.

It seems unlikely that the new owners would retire the Opera browser considering that it has a sizable market share especially in the mobile world.

One likely scenario is that the Chinese companies pave the way for the Opera browser in China, and that they hope that the acquisition will help their expansion plans and growth in Europe, America and other parts of the world.

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