Opera Software to Become Chinese

An unanimous board of Opera recommends their shareholders to accept the offer, which is 10.5 billion NOK, the company said in a stock exchange announcement, writes Aftenposten.

– The Opera board has made a thorough assessment of the conditions of the offer and unanimously recommend the shareholders in Opera Software to accept it, comments Sverre Munck, chairman of Opera Software.

Shortly after the Oslo Stock Exchange opened on Wednesday morning, the Opera’s share rose with 41.2 percent, according to E24.

Believes New Ownership Will Strengthen Opera’s Position

The investment fund Golden Brick Silk Road offers 71 NOK per share and wants to buy them all. It is 22 million more than the Opera share value at the previous trading on the Oslo Stock Exchange.

The investment fund includes among others the Chinese IT companies Kunlun and Qihoo. Major shareholders, who together own about 33 percent of the shares in Opera, have decided to accept the offer.

– There is a strong strategic and industrial rationale behind this offer. We believe the consortium with its wide and strong position in many markets will be a good owner for Opera, says Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera Software ASA said in a press release, according to Aftenposten.

Former Opera Entrepreneur Doesn’t Agree

Opera co-founder Jon von Tetzchner, who sold their shares some years ago and started a competing company, thinks this news is sad.

– I find it sad that Opera ceases to be a Norwegian company. Another Norwegian company disappears, von Tetzchner shares his thoughts with Aftenposten.

He founded the company in 1994 and retired as CEO in 2010, partly because he disagreed with the board about the direction in which the company evolved.

– Opera was a company with fantastic opportunities. The value of the company lay in the technology we developed. Rather than continue in this direction, the management has chosen to focus on digital advertising andapparently did not reach the results they hoped for, says von Tetzchner.

– A completely different company

The Norwegian browser Opera has more than tripled the number of users from 100 million in 2009 to around 350 million users today. But it has to compete with giants like Google and Microsoft. Opera has been recently especially successful on the market for mobile browsers. 

Karin Greve Isdahl, spokesperson for Opera Software, contradicts to Jon von Tetzchne via an e-mail to Aftenposten:
– Opera is today a completely different company from what it was 6 years ago, when Jon left. The current board believes this is a good price and a good partner for Opera, which is why they recommend it to shareholders.

She also adds:
– Opera’s desktop browser has always been and will remain an important focus area for us. Today we have 59 million users, an increase of over 4 million in one year, in an otherwise weak PC market, writes Count-Isdahl.

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