Opera Gets $1.2 Billion Buyout Offer From Qihoo 360, Other Chinese Companies

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Opera Gets $1.2 Billion Buyout Offer From Qihoo 360, Other Chinese Companies

Browser maker Opera has announced it has received a $1.2 billion acquisition offer from a Chinese Internet consortium comprising Qihoo 360, Kunlun Tech, and investment firms. As part of the agreement, the Chinese companies will get 100 percent stake of Opera, valuing the company at NOK 10.4 billion (roughly Rs. 8,234 crores). The board members of the Norway-based firm wrote on Tuesday night that they have unanimously decided to recommend the acquisition to move forward to the shareholders.

"The Offer is the result of the structured process to explore various strategic opportunities initiated by Opera's Board of Directors (the "Board") and announced in a stock exchange release on 7 August 2015," 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."

Opera in an emailed statement to Gadgets 360 said it has "received an offer on NOK 71 per share, a significant premium of 53 percent to the closing share price on February 4, and 56 percent over the last 30 trading days volume weighted average share price. The Offer also implies an attractive 2015 reported EBITDA multiple of 14.0x."

Speculations around a buyout deal started to swirl last week when Oslo stock exchange decided to halt trading in Opera Software's shares. The Norway-based company has scheduled earnings call for later Wednesday, where it could share more information about the acquisition.

Major structuring is being planned at Opera as well. Gadgets 360 learned in December that the Norwegian software company was planning to spin off its Browser division into a separate entity. At the time Opera had confirmed to us that its board of directors have currently proposed a demerger of Opera Software ASA into Opera Software AS and Opera TV AS.

"The Consortium consists of the leading Chinese Internet firms Kunlun and Qihoo, backed by the investment funds Golden Brick and Yonglian. The transaction would give Opera access to the extensive internet user base of Kunlun and Qihoo in China as well as the financing and other support of the Consortium that would allow for the full potential of the Company to be realized," the company wrote.

"At the same time, Kunlun and Qihoo would be able to cross-sell their products and services to the Opera user base, and benefit from Opera's leading mobile advertising platform."Best known for its Web browser and popularity on Android phones - used by more than 350 million people - the company has been slowly expanding into other areas. Opera's ad business Opera Mediaworks has a reach of more than one billion people per month, the company claimed last year.


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