Norwegian company Opera Software, makers of the well-known alternative web browser Opera, has reached an agreement to sell the mobile and desktop browser portion of its business to a Chinese consortium of technology companies for an estimated $600 million, after a previous $1.2 billion deal fell through the cracks.
The company announced that an offer to acquire the company for $1.2 billion has now been terminated, and in the meantime, the deal has been renegotiated: the same group will now pay $600 million to acquire only certain parts of Opera’s business.
Opera will sell the Qihoo 360-led consortium its mobile and desktop browser operations, its performance and privacy apps, its tech licensing not including Opera TV; and Opera’s 29 percent stake in Chinese JV nHorizon. However, the will keep its advertising and marketing business as well as its game-related apps and television operations, in a bid to escape a long regulatory holdup.
The lead investor among the buyers is Kunlun Tech Co., a Beijing-based company that operates the Brothersoft desktop app store and 1Mobile Android app market. Earlier this year, they also bought a majority stake in gay dating app Grindr as the business tries to expand outside of its staple, which is mobile game development. The other buyer named so far is Qihoo 360, who is known in China for its mobile app store and anti-virus software. Both companies are said to be trying to build themselves up to better compete with fellow Chinese corporate giants Alibaba and Tencent.
Beyond the Opera browsers for mobile and desktop platforms, Opera will sell its performance and privacy technology, as well as entire Opera’s tech licensing (outside of the Opera TV ecosystem). The deal also includes acquiring of Opera’s 29 percent stake in Chinese joint venture nHorizon, which also develops a browser. In addition, the Consortium has acquired the name “Opera.”
“According to what we know, it was because of Opera’s other services, and involves […] many users’ privacy. This would be extremely rigorously investigated during the U.S. government’s audit and probably would have delayed the entire acquisition process by six months to a year,” a spokeswoman said. “So we opted for a better method, and chose Opera’s core assets, namely the consumer business, as the target of the acquisition. That greatly accelerates the acquisition process.”