It was a well-known fact that Opera was up for sale in the market and it is now that the Chinese consortium has reached an agreement with Opera to buy the mobile and desktop business for an estimated $600-Million. The previous deal was pegged at $1.2-Billion but it seems that Opera decided to retain its advertising business.
The investment was led by Kunlun Tech Co which is a Beijing company that runs the Brothersoft desktop app store and also the 1Mobile Android app market. Qihoo 360, the Chinese Internet giant is known for their anti-virus is listed as another stakeholder in this deal. These are a few of the companies on an acquisition spree in order to build their business and compete better with the likes of Tencent and Alibaba.
Apart from the Browsers Opera will also be offloading their performance and privacy technology (includes the Opera Max)along with the Intellectual Property and a stake in a Chinese firm called nHorizon, which is also a company that makes browsers. Browser business is not something that it known for raking in fortunes and it was, in fact, Opera’s advertising unit alone that would fetch them another $600-Million.
Opera told the Reuters that it dropped the advertising unit from the agreement as it would further delay the deal. U.S authorities would closely investigate the privacy concerns and the regulatory authority could take even up to a year. Apparently, Opera was burning a lot of cash in improving its technology in order to take over the market in the “Western World” and it was during this onslaught that profit was not an immediate possibility.
Opera was, in fact, one of the first mobile browsers that actually worked well with the Symbian and the Java phones. My first encounter with Opera was more than ten years ago on my Nokia Symbian work and the browser was kind of ahead of its time. With the advent of Safari browser and Chrome browsers, Opera’s grip on the mobile browser industry was loosened. Lately, the browser had also added a native ad-blocker much to the furore of the publisher community and the content industry in general. That being said $600-Million for a browser that survived through the 2000’s till 2016 seems like a paltry sum. Moreover, it was during that time that browsers like Netscape were crushed by the competition.