Opera's board moving forward with $1.2B takeover offer from Chinese consortium

Opera Software said it has received a $1.2 billion buyout offer from a consortium of Chinese Internet companies including the security firm Qihoo 360. The company's board unanimously recommended the deal to shareholders.

The offer marks a 53 percent premium on Opera shares at the close of Feb. 4, the company said.

The Norway-based developer and mobile marketing firm said last summer that it was evaluating offers from external investors after it opened a strategic review into its future options. And the company earlier this week delayed its quarterly earnings report, fueling speculation that it was a target for acquisition.

While Opera is known primarily as a developer of browsers for phones and desktops, a key component of the deal is Opera Mediaworks, a mobile advertising business the company launched three years ago. Mediaworks delivered ads to 25,000 apps and websites during the fourth quarter of 2015, Opera said this week, including AT&T AdWorks.

Opera reported $145.4 million in mobile ad revenue during the quarter, up 41 percent year-over-year, and video accounted for 60 percent of that revenue. Overall, Opera posted $193.5 million in quarterly revenue, up 25 percent from the fourth quarter of 2014. The company reported a profit of $32.8 million during the final three months of 2015.

Opera said the deal will give it increased access to the booming mobile market in China as well as financing from the consortium. The acquisition also provides access to Opera's user base for consortium members Qihoo and Kunlun, a mobile game developer.

"Opera is a well-recognized mobile Internet company with great brand recognition and global impact," Kunlun CEO Yahui Zhou said in a prepared statement. "Under its excellent management team, Opera has made remarkable achievements in recent years in the fields of mobile browser and mobile advertising."

For more:
- see this Opera press release (PDF)
- see this quarterly earnings report (PDF)

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