Norway based browser company Opera has got approval from its shareholders for a $1.2 billion buyout offer from a consortium of Chinese Internet firms including Kunlun and Qihoo 360, TechCrunch reported; both firms are backed investment funds including Golden Brick and Yonglian. Opera’s had secured the deal from the Chinese Consortium in February
Today the company announced that it “has received acceptances of the Offer for in total 132,911,316 shares in the Company representing approximately 90.6% of the outstanding share capital and 90.9% of the votes in the Company.” However, this is a preliminary approximated count; the final deal will be closed after relevant approval from Norway and Chinese authorities.
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, before the Chinese deal was approved, 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 browser shares
Globally, Opera’s stands last among the top 5 desktop browsers along with a mere 1.85% share as of May 2016 which dropped from 2.2% in December 2015.
Among the top 9 mobile browsers globally, Opera ranks 4th with a 11.19% overall share as of May 2016. Opera’s mobile browser share dropped from 13.06% in September 2015—the highest since January 2015(9.55%).
In addition, in the Indian market, Opera’s mobile browser has been steadily losing out to UC Browser since July 2015 with a 15.95% share as of May 2016. However, Opera holds the second place among the top 9 mobile browser used in India.
Financials: During the Q1 FY16, Opera reported a net loss of $17.1 million which; in the same quarter last year (Q1 FY15), Opera reported losses of $26.2 million. Overall revenues from is business operations during Q1FY16 stood at $163.5 million, which fell by 15.7% from $194 million in the preceding quarter.
Other developments from Opera
Native adblocker: In this month, Opera started integrating a native adblocker into both the stable versions of Opera for computers as well as Opera Mini for Android. According to the company, native adblockers speeds up page loading by as much as 89% compared to browsers without ad blocking.
Opera Apps Club violates net neutrality : In February, Opera had launched Opera Apps Club globally, a subscription service that allows users download unlimited curated set of apps. Opera initially tied up with Idea as its first partner, however post the TRAI ruling against differential pricing, Idea has backed out.
Interestingly, Opera mentions 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. Given this, we don’t expect the app to be available in India anytime soon.