Opera acquires Skyfire in $155 million deal

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Just a few days after talking about its plans to transition to WebKit, Opera Software has now announced the acquisition of Silicon Valley (California,US) based Skyfire Labs, a company that also makes mobile browser apps, which are particularly known for their ability to play Flash Video on non-Flash enabled devices.

The company also offers a multimedia optimisation and delivery solution, Rocket Optimizer and a monetization tool, Skyfire Horizon, to operators.

The acquisition price includes a mix of cash and stock, with an upfront consideration of US$50 million (including $8 million of cash on the Skyfire balance sheet) and performance based earn-out payments over three years, including $26 million in cash held in escrow and funded upfront, that can bring the total deal size to $155 million. The acquisition is expected to close before March 15, 2013.

According to a press statement from Opera, the two companies intend to work on a new set of joint products to be released over the coming year by combining their talents and know-how. In particular, they look to expand on Opera's Web Pass offering, which allows consumers to purchase innovative data plans such as an unlimited 'day pass' of popular apps and web sites for an affordable price.

"Opera and Skyfire are a natural fit," said Lars Boilesen, CEO, Opera Software. "Both companies have evolved far beyond their browser roots. Skyfire adds capabilities to our portfolio around video, app optimization, smartphones and tablets, and strength in North America. With video expected to consume over two-thirds of global mobile bandwidth by 2015, and as time spent on Android and iOS apps explodes, we are excited to extend Opera's solutions for operators."

Skyfire's browser apps for iPhone, iPad and Android devices allow users to play Flash videos, switch the browser's user agent to load pages as a desktop browser and integrate social networks within the app. It essentially compresses video content on its own servers and streams it to the users' devices. The company claims that these apps have been downloaded by more than 20 million users in over 150 countries.

Its Rocket Optimizer solution allows mobile operators to leverage cloud computing to optimize videos and other multimedia on their 3G, 4G LTE, and other networks to use bandwidth efficiently by reducing the size of the content on their servers, while Skyfire Horizon is a mobile browser extension and toolbar platform that allows users to personalize their smartphone browser and operators to monetize their offerings.

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