Chinese tech consortium offers $1.2 billion for Opera web browser

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Browser company Opera is the subject of a $1.2 billion acquisition offer from a Chinese consortium.

The consortium, which is made up of two of China’s leading tech companies, including gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech, which recently became the majority shareholder on dating app Grindr, and Qihoo 360 Software, specialists in anti virus and browser software. The consortium is also being supported by investment firms Golden Brick and Yonglian.

Speaking of the offer, Lars Boilesen, Chief Executive Officer of Opera, said, “There is strong strategic and industrial logic to the acquisition of Opera by the Consortium. 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 is a well-recognized mobile internet company with great brand recognition and global impact.Under its excellent management team, Opera has made remarkable achievements in recent years in the fields of mobile browser and mobile advertising, said Yahui Zhou, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Kunlun.

You may be reading this thinking that $1.2 billion is a hell of a lot of money for a web browser that hardly anyone uses.

In fact, by offering $1.2 billion, it over-values the Norwegian company by about 53 percent if you compare it to Opera’s closing share price exactly one week ago, before the rumours of a potential takeover started circulating.

The offer of is awaiting the approval of Opera’s shareholders, but unsurprisingly the company’s board are “unanimously recommending shareholders approve the takeover.”

Whilst Opera is one of the oldest web browser around and boasts 350 million users worldwide, it has been unable break the dominance of Chrome, Firefox and Safari.

This is especially true on mobile where the Opera Mini browser has approximately 7.3 percent market share compared to Chrome’s 42 percent and Safari’s 34 percent.

With that being said, it is likely the company’s growing mobile advertising business is what ultimately gained the interest of the Chinese.

Should the deal be confirmed, it will enable Opera to expand into the Chinese mobile market, whilst at the same time giving Kunlun Tech and Qihoo 360 access to Opera’s international advertising platform.

Source: Re/Code

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