Norwegian browser company Opera has announced that it has received a $1.2 billion acquisition offer from Golden Brick Silk Road, a Chinese investment fund and consortium of popular Chinese internet companies.
They have offered NKr71 per Opera share which is a premium of 53 percent above the last trading price on February 4 after which the trading was stopped, giving rise to takeover rumours. The offer has valued Opera at about $1.2 billion or 10.4 billion Norwegian Kroner (approx 8234 crores).
As per the proposed agreement, the firms will get 100% stake in Opera. The company board has agreed to the offer and has unanimously decided to recommend to its shareholders to accept the Offer.
The company wrote in a statement,
After careful consideration of the various opportunities for the Company and the proposals received, the Board has concluded that an acquisition of Opera by the Consortium is the most attractive proposition for the shareholders, the Company and its employees.
The consortium consists of popular Chinese internet companies namely Qihoo 360 and Kunlun Tech. The news does not come as a surprise as Opera had openly admitted to considering selling options after poor financial numbers last year. It had hired Morgan Stanley International and ABG Sundal Collier for assisting it in the process of finding a suitable buyer.
Qihoo 360 has long been considered as a potential buyer of Opera. This is because Qihoo 360 also offers its own browser in addition to its range of security products. These products can benefit from Opera’s recent acquisition of SurfEasy which has made a virtual private network (VPN) app that allows secure browsing of the web.
Moreover, Opera also has a presence in mobile advertising business which now also includes app install ads which can benefit Qihoo 360 as it monetizes its apps through advertising.
The other major company in the consortium, Kunlun Tech also stands to gain from the expertise of Opera and its wide reach in the internet space.
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,
said Kunlun CEO Yahui Zhou.
By combining Opera with Kunlun, Qihoo, and Golden Brick, the Consortium will join forces and solidify our leadership position in the international internet space.
On the other hand, according to a statement by Opera CEO Lars Boilesen, Opera expects to access the extensive internet user base of Kunlun and Qihoo in China as well as the financing and other support from the Consortium that would allow for the full potential of Opera to be realized.
There is strong strategic and industrial logic to the acquisition of Opera by the Consortium. 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,
said Lars in his statement.
Opera recently postponed its Q4 2015 earnings call after which rumors of acquisition further grew stronger. Now the earning call is expected to take place later today during which it may give further details of the proposed deal and may even confirm the acquisition.