A consortium of Chinese technology firms have offered to pay $1.2 billion for browser maker Opera, a 53 percent premium over what it was trading at prior to the news. Unsurprisingly, the Norwegian-based company’s board of directors unanimously recommended that shareholders take the offer.
The buyout bid comes from mobile gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech and Qihoo 360, said to be China’s top mobile antivirus provider. Their efforts are being led by Golden Brick Silk Road Fund Management of China which also includes Yonglian Investment.
If the deal pans out, Kunlun and Qihoo aim to sell their wares to Opera’s user base and extend the browser maker’s mobile advertising platform to Chinese users. Opera said its mobile ad network has a reach of over a billion users.
Also of value is Opera’s data-saving backend technology which compresses websites before they are served to users, thus helping to reduce bandwidth consumption. The technology has helped the company make inroads in emerging markets such as Latin America and South Asia that may lack speedy Internet connections. Even with the impressive technology, Opera ranks as the sixth most-used browser with a 5.5 percent market share according to Internet metrics firm StatCounter.
Despite its mobile ad reach, 2015 was not kind to Opera. As Mashable notes, the company had to revise its outlook twice and told shareholders it was shopping itself around to potential buyers.