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Opera Gets $1.2 Billion Buyout Offer From Chinese Consortium That Includes Qihoo 360

The bid values Opera at a premium of 53 percent above where it was trading prior to speculation of a buyout bid.

Oli Scarff / Getty Images

Opera confirmed Tuesday night it has received an acquisition offer from a consortium of Chinese Internet companies that values the browser maker at $1.2 billion.

The offer, from Kunlun and Qihoo 360, backed by the investment funds Golden Brick and Yonglian, values Opera at about 10.4 billion Norwegian kroner, a premium of 53 percent above where it was trading prior to speculation of a buyout bid.

Opera’s board is unanimously recommending shareholders approve the takeover.

“There is strong strategic and industrial logic to the acquisition of Opera by the Consortium,” Opera CEO Lars Boilesen said in a statement. “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 is best known for its browser but has also focused on other areas, including data compression and advertising. While it never gained a large share on the desktop, Opera was among the leading browsers on early mobile phones, due, in part, to its small file size and speed.

In recent years, it had been aiming to survive the mobile browser battle by extending its compression efforts into video, the biggest consumer of data on mobile devices.

“We are the kings of compression, even though the big guys try to come after us,” Boilesen told Re/code in a 2014 interview. “Video is booming.”

Speaking on behalf of the Chinese bidders, Kunlun CEO Yahui Zhou praised Opera’s brand and technology.

“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,” Zhou said in a statement. “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 is due to release earnings on Wednesday, at which time it is also expected to talk more about the takeover offer, which requires various approvals, including a nod from both Opera shareholders and various government entities.

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