Opera has been acquired a Chinese consortium for $1.2 billion. Opera is best known for its browser, although the company had made significant inroads into mobile ad tech over the last five years or so via its Mediaworks division, which has been expanded over the years through acquisitions of companies like AdMarvel (2010), AdColony (2014) and AdVine (2014).
The consortium consists of two Chinese Internet firms Kunlun and Qihoo, who are backed by the investment funds Golden Brick and Yonglian.
A press release said that the acquisition will 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 realised’. The statement also said that Kunlun and Qihoo would be seeking to cross-sell their products and services to the Opera user base, and benefit from their mobile advertising platform.
Here’s some background on the acquiring companies:
Kunlun is a public company listed in China, with a market cap of approximately $5 billion. The company focuses on heavily on mobile gaming, R&D, publishing and has an app distribution operation. Kunlun is also involved in the fintech peer-to-peer (P2P) lending business. The company has a large user base both in China and internationally, which will be interesting to Opera both from a data and media perspective. Last month it paid $93m for a controlling 60 percent stake in Grindr, the gay hook-up app, in January of this year.
Qihoo is a provider of Internet and mobile security products in China and runs both web browsers and application stores. The company claims to have built one of the largest online open platforms in China and monetizes its extensive user base primarily through online advertising and through ‘value-added services’ on its platform.
In a statement Lars Boilesen, Opera’s CEO, said, “There is strong strategic and industrial logic to the acquisition of Opera by the Consortium. We believe that the Consortium, with its breadth of expertise and strong market position in emerging markets, will be a strong owner of Opera. The Consortium’s ownership will strengthen Opera’s position to serve our users and partners with even greater innovation, and to accelerate our plans of expansion and growth.”
On behalf of the Consortium, Yahui Zhou, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Kunlun, said “Opera is a well-recognized mobile internet company with great brand recognition and global impact. Under its excellent management team, Opera has made remarkable achievements in recent years in the fields of mobile browser and mobile advertising. Kunlun has always been a pioneer in international growth among its Chinese internet peers, and has already obtained a large market share in Asia, Europe and other markets. Our partner, Qihoo, operates one of the largest online open platforms with significant expertise in offering online advertising and internet value added services.
By combining Opera with Kunlun, Qihoo, and Golden Brick, the Consortium will join forces and solidify our leadership position in the international internet space. ”