The world’s favorite mobile browser, Opera Mini, is to be bought over by a Chinese consortium. The Opera Software, the Norway-based makers of the web browser have being looking for buyers since August last year.
The Chinese consortium is made up of Beijing’s tech firm Kunlun, Quiho 360 and two investment firms Golden Brick and Yonglian. The consortium made an offer of $1.2 billion to the board of Opera. This offer was hard to refuse because it was 53% over the value of the Opera’s shares at the time the offer. Speaking on behalf of the Chinese consortium, Yahui Zhou, the CEO of Kunlun, was full of praise for Opera,
“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. 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 browser has for a long time now seen its mobile browser, Opera mini maintained its position as one of the leading browsers on mobile phones. The Opera mini browser is strongly associated with fast browsing and very efficient data compression ability. As of last year, Opera had about 300 million people using its software on mobile phones while the desk top version, which is not so popular had about 60 million users. The Chinese consortium, if the sale goes through, would also be acquiring three other mobile browsers as part of the package; Opera Browser, Opera Max and Opera Coast; and these would be joined by the desk top and TV versions.
But first, the offer from the Chinese consortium would be tabled before the shareholders of Opera Browser. And 90% of shareholders would need to approve the plan for the acquisition to be finalized. Already, large institutional shareholders accounting for about 33% of the total shares are thought to have endorsed the deal. So just a little under 60% percent more is required.
Explaining the reason behind the deal, the chairman of Opera Browser, Sverre Munck, while speaking to Reuters said the deal became necessary so that Opera might stand a chance against the big tech companies like Google and Facebook:
”Facebook and Google have their ecosystems and now we have one too, in a part of the world that is growing incredibly fast and where we will become very strong.”
And what does the consortium bring to the table? Chief executive Lars Boilesen explains further,
”We believe that the consortium, with its breadth of expertise and strong market position in emerging markets, will be a strong owner of Opera. Facebook and Google have their ecosystems and now we have one too, in a part of the world that is growing incredibly fast and where we will become very strong. We want to be an ecosystem with a billion users.”
However, the deal is also subject to approval from the Chinese government. But this is not seen as something that would derail the deal from happening. So, another famous Internet brand would soon be owned by the Chinese.
We hope that the new owners would not use Opera browser to bombard us with adverts in the name of making more profits to appease their own shareholders.