A group of Chinese tech companies has made a highly lucrative offer for mobile web browser Opera.
A group of Chinese tech powerhouses led by Golden Brick Silk Road has made an astounding offer to buy Oslo-based Opera Software ASA’s top-selling product, the Opera web browser, for a little over a billion dollars. The offer, which the board unanimously recommended to its shareholders, would pay out to investors more than 40% higher than the last per-share closing price.
Opera is the world’s fifth most widely used web browser with 7.3% of the mobile browser market, a ranking made possible mostly due to its incorporation on mobile devices like smartphones made by Xiaomi Corp and Samsung. The company says that Opera is currently running on more than 280 million devices worldwide… except China. This deal would open up the user base that Kunlun and Qihoo–two of the tech companies involved in the acquisition–currently enjoys in the country. China has an interesting internet-using demographic in that the majority of its population is considered mobile-first or even mobile-only in that they do not own or use a PC or laptop, opting instead to conduct all internet activity on a mobile device.
But what do these tech companies want with Opera? Well, what does any tech giant want with a new acquisition?
Opera has made huge strides in mobile advertising, with the overwhelming bulk of Opera’s entire revenue coming from mobile ads. Of course, part of developing a great and lucrative mobile ad division (Opera Mediaworks) has meant getting streaming video on a mobile device to work seamlessly and unobtrusively. That capability can be very enticing to tech companies whose customers are primarily mobile. At the same time, one of the companies involved in the acquisition bought a majority share of dating app Grindr last month; Kunlun Tech may have significant plans for monetizing on that return by bringing a mobile-dominant web browser to the table.