Opera has secured a $1.2 billion buyout offer from a consortium of Chinese Internet firms including Kunlun and Qihoo 360; both firms are backed by the investment funds Golden Brick and Yonglian, reports ZDNet. The deal is subject to shareholder and regulatory approval.
Opera has been looking for a buyer since August 2015, after their earnings collapsed due to a steady loss of browser marketshare, and slowing advertising sales. Last year the company was said to be working with Morgan Stanley International and ABG Sundal Collier to help with the finding an acquirer.
Opera’s falling market share
Globally, Opera’s stands last among the top 5 desktop browsers along with a mere 2.05% share as of February 2016. It had a 1.67% share in January, last year.
Among the top 9 mobile browsers globally, Opera ranks 4th with a 11.04% overall share as of February 2016. It increased from 9.55% in January last year, peaking at 13.32% during September 2015.
Additionally, Opera has been steadily losing out to UC Browser in the Indian mobile browser market share with a 16.82% share as of February. UC browser currently leads with a 59.03% share among mobile browsers in India.
Even though they fell short on overall browser shares, Opera’s revenue stood at $193.5 million in Q4FY15, up from $154.4 million in Q4FY14. The company’s projected revenue range for the fiscal year of 2016 is between $690m to $740m, said a Reuters report.
Opera Apps Club violates net neutrality
Opera launched Opera Apps Club globally— a subscription-based service, which allows users to download ‘unlimited’ curated set of apps. Opera Apps club has carrier billing partnerships with various carriers, and tie-ups with hardware manufacturers to preload the storefront on smartphones. Opera however mentioned that no mobile data plan is required to download apps from the store, signifying that the storefront will be available only through carrier tie-ups in countries that allow differential pricing.
Opera initially tied up with Idea as its first partner, however post the TRAI ruling against differential pricing, Idea has backed out.
– After being acquired by Alibaba in 2014, and after setting up its second headquarter in India on April ’13, UC Browser crossed the 50% mark in the Indian market, during November, last year. It also updated its Android browser in September, last year with a UI overhaul, personalisation of discovery, and content access. The company claims that the browser will act as a content aggregator as well as a distributor, for which it employs a card system (think Google Now and Twitter). In May, the browser came under some fire after it was reportedly leaking sensitive user information, making it a privacy risk according to a Canadian technology research group Citizen Lab
– AdblockPlus released a mobile browser for Android and iOS on September, last year. This is after Eyeo, the company which makes the extension for browsers, encountered problems in creating adblocking software for mobile devices.