Chinese bidders extend deadline again for €1.1B Opera Software offer

A Chinese consortium behind the planned 100 per cent acquisition of Opera Software has again extended the offer period until May 24 to allow more time for acceptances by existing shareholders.

The offer of NOK10.5 billion (€1.1 billion/$1.28 billion) was launched on Mar. 15 after an initial announcement in February, but so far acceptances have only been received from shareholders representing 72.19 per cent of shares in the Norway-based company. The offer is conditional on a minimum acceptance level of 90 per cent of the shares.

Two Chinese Internet firms, Kunlun and Qihoo, are behind the consortium and are backed by the investment funds Golden Brick and Yonglian. It was stressed that there would be no further extensions to the offer period; the original timeframe has already been extended once from Apr. 5 to Apr. 14. The deal is also subject to regulatory approval, which the consortium has previously said it expects to receive by the end of June 2016.

The offer has been fully endorsed by Opera Software's management, which said in February that the takeover would boost Opera's competitiveness against companies including Google, Apple and Facebook.

Opera, which specialises in mobile web browsers and mobile advertising, said an acquisition by the consortium "is the most attractive proposition for the shareholders, the company and its employees." It noted that the transaction would give it additional funding and access to markets in China, while also enabling Kunlun and Qihoo to cross-sell their products and services to the Opera user base.

Chairman Sverre Munck previously explained that the strategy behind the move is to create a bigger ecosystem for the company.

"Ecosystem is a key word because we compete with the big ones, Facebook, Google, Apple. To compete alone against an ecosystem is rather demanding. Now we become part of an ecosystem that suits us well," Munck said, Bloomberg reported in February.

For more:
- see this Opera Software announcement

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