Opera gets $1.2 billion buyout offer from mix of Chinese firms, board recommends deal

There is "strong strategic and industrial logic to the acquisition," according to the software maker's CEO.
Written by Jake Smith, Contributor

Opera has received a $1.2 billion buyout offer from a consortium of Chinese Internet firms, the company announced on Wednesday.

The consortium includes Kunlun and Qihoo 360 and is backed by the investment funds Golden Brick and Yonglian.

Opera's board recommends the deal.

The $1.2 billion offer is a 53 percent premium on Opera's close as of February 4 on the Oslo stock exchange. Trading of the company has been suspended for two days following buyout rumors.

"There is strong strategic and industrial logic to the acquisition of Opera by the Consortium," Opera CEO Lars Boilesen said on Wednesday. "The Consortium's ownership will strengthen Opera's position to serve our users and partners with even greater innovation, and to accelerate our plans of expansion and growth."

Opera began looking for a buyer in August 2015, following slumping earnings after a steady loss of browser marketshare and slowing advertising sales. The company hired Morgan Stanley International and ABG Sundal Collier to help with the search.

"Our Board has undertaken a careful review of the terms and conditions of the Offer and is unanimous in its recommendation. We commend the management team on the work they have done on behalf of the shareholders, employees and other Opera stakeholders," Sverre Munck, chairman of Opera's board, said.

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

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