(Update: deal approved) Opera will likely be bought by Chinese investors for $1.2 billion

by: Bogdan PetrovanMay 25, 2016
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opera browser 2

Update, May 25: As expected, Opera’s shareholders overwhelmingly voted in favor of the buyout. The company announced today that over 90% of shareholders approved the $1.2 billion deal. Pending approval from regulators in Norway and China, a consortium of Chinese companies including Qihoo 360, Kunlun, and Yonglian will become the corporate overlord of the venerable Opera.

Original post, February 10: Opera Software, the Norwegian company known for its browsers and data compression technology, has received a buyout offer from a consortium of Chinese investors. Opera’s board of directors recommended shareholders to accept the $1.2 billion deal, and it’s likely that the acquisition will go through.

Years before Android and iOS, Opera was one of the pioneers of mobile internet access. Its Opera Mini browser allowed Java-based and Symbian device owners to get online, albeit on a very basic form of the web. On desktops, Opera’s browser enjoyed some early success, but its market share never really took off, and it’s currently hovering around 1-2%.

In recent years, Opera used its compression expertize to launch products targeted at users looking to save on their data consumption. While Opera Mini always had data compression at its core, Opera Max brought similar savings to traffic generated by apps. Non-encrypted traffic is routed through Opera’s servers and compressed, resulting in significant data savings. In 2015, Opera extended this capability to several audio and video streaming services, making it possible to stream, say, Pandora, with 50% less data.

opera-maxSee also: Opera Max App Review24

Getting back to the acquisition, Opera’s suitors are Qihoo 360 and Kunlun, with funding from investment funds Golden Brick and Yonglian. Qihoo 360 is a security company that offers, among others, the popular 360 Security app for Android, as well as a browser and other security products.

The $1.2 billion offer is a generous 53% premium over Opera’s stock price before the announcement of the offer, and it’s likely that shareholders will approve it. The deal will require regulatory approval.

How will this acquisition change Opera as we know it? It’s hard to say, but at the very least, a deep-pocketed owner could help make Opera’s products more visible.

  • Marty

    Sad to see this happen. Opera is the only Android browser I’ve found to work acceptably. Once it goes commie, I’m strictly Safari browsing on iOS.

    Sad that Android will have no decent browser after the commies take Opera.

    • Chris

      Chrome… I mean come on you have to have some sort of mental health issue if you own use chrome especially on Android…

      • Marty

        In my experience, Chrome is unreliable in certain ways. On Android, if I want to have a rounded browsing experience, I need at least 3 different browsers. Another one for when the first one won’t do something and then still another for when the second one won’t do something else.

        Chrome won’t do some things and that’s Google’s fault for being laid-back lazy or completely ignorant of it being unreliable. Google has had so many years to make Chrome fully reliable. The fact that they haven’t is a testimony to Google’s ignorance. And it’s no wonder why Apple consistently kicks Google’s butt all the time.

        • WestSiide

          What can’t chrome do properly?

          • Marty

            One thing is not organize bookmarks. Another is no easy access to bookmarks. If I’m 3 or more pages deep into a website and want to go to another bookmarked site, I either hit the back button 4 times or tap the tiny menu button and navigate to bookmarks. Need a dedicated bookmarks button.

          • WestSiide

            Yes, but what you described are inconveniences and annoyances, but not really performance or page rendering issues.

            I do agree on the bookmarks. It should be easier to get to them. For that reason is why with a left swipe from my main home page is an entire page dedicated to the book mark widget. Its easier for me to get to my book marks that way. A simple touch to the home button takes me back to all my bookmarks. Being able to organize the order of them would also be nice.

            If i click on a page that i might get 3-4 clicks deep, i usually just open the page in a separate tab altogether and close it out when im done.

            The blank page is pretty stupid, yes.

            What would make chrome almost perfect for me would be to put the 3 dot menu button on the bottom or have a bottom navigation bar. Reaching all the way to the top on 5.5-6 inch screens is annoying, but overall its still the best performing browser out of all the ones I’ve tried.

          • Marty

            It has had performance related issues…like taking forever to open a page or freezing up on some pages. But I haven’t yet seen it since yesterday when I reenabled Chrome on my devices.

          • Marty

            Another annoying problem Chrome has is automatically unchecking the “Request desktop site”. Freaking pi ssing me off when I check it and later on it magically unchecks.

            Google is going to have to get its head out of its a ss and think about the people who use their products rather than making their products suit themselves only.

          • WestSiide

            A bottom nav bar is what i want. And the option to open a link or new page in the foreground instead of the background all the time. Basically just a bit more customization.

          • Marty

            Noticed just today there wasn’t any navigation buttons. No forward/back. Heh…lazy. Just lazy…

          • WestSiide

            Forward is on the menu button… Waaaaay up top. And back, is… Well, your back button.

          • Marty

            Heh…so they are. Curious as to why, though…

          • Mohamed Salim

            what are you talking about its easy to get to the bookmark

      • Karly Johnston

        I loved Chrome until they color coded the address bar that changes my status bar so i can’t read it.

      • balcobomber25

        I am not a fan of Chrome on mobile. Firefox is my go to.

    • Hi Marty,

      As mentioned to Firdous: Nothing has changed with the way we handle data. We have servers in different locations worldwide and there is no plan to change or move them.

      Thank you! /AE

      • Marty

        Nothing has changed…yet. Once Opera sells to the Chinese, it will change. And I will not use it after that. I’m actually not using it now. Decided to rentable Chrome on all my Android devices and am living with its shortcomings.

        • balcobomber25

          Who says it will change?

          • Marty

            I say it will change. That’s how much I trust communism.

          • balcobomber25

            Take off your tinfoil hat.

          • Marty

            So you trust communists? You must really trust a democracy, then.

          • balcobomber25

            I don’t trust any one government they are all corupt. But I don’t lump entire companies into their countries politics. You would be surprised how many Chinese products you use on a daily basis without even knowing it. Also China is far from a true communist country.

          • Marty

            I do lump them together. There’s no way to trust a system that can do what it wants, when it wants without legal consequence. Even the U.S. Gov fights the corruption of Chinese companies.

            Remember that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

            “Also China is far from a true communist country.”

            Hmmm…so China now holds elections for its leaders and all of its leaders can be held accountable in its justice system?

          • balcobomber25

            Compared to Wall Street and Big Oil which does what it wants in the US with little to now legal consequence?

            Which phone do you currently use?

          • Marty

            Exactly! How much more difficult is it to hold communists accountable in their justice system?

          • balcobomber25

            For companies that do business internationally it’s very easy to hold them accountable.

          • Marty

            Now who wears the tinfoil hat?

          • balcobomber25

            You, you are so afraid of the big bad communists. But what exactly is 360 going to do Opera that they would need to be held accountable for?

            And you still haven’t answered what phone do you use?

          • Marty

            You poor, poor, naive little person.

            What difference does owning hardware make compared to digital code and content? If the hardware is compromised, it’s easy to see and discover. If communists chose to monitor your passwords and other sensitive information browsed and used in digital code like a web browser, not much can be done about it…in a communist society.

          • balcobomber25

            Again what device to you own, why is that so hard for you to answer?

          • Marty

            You won’t answer me without PR, why should I answer you?

          • balcobomber25

            Because you know when you do answer me I will point out all the Chinese made components in your phone as well as that it is probably made in a Chinese factory exposing you for the fraud that you are.

          • Marty

            You still aren’t answering me.

            Is a person more secure or less secure using Opera owned by a company in a communist regime?

          • balcobomber25

            That depends on the individual person and what they do on the internet. No web browser is completely secure. You’re asking an open ended question and expecting a definitive answer. Opera itself will be just a secure as it is now, it will just have a new owner.

          • Marty

            I’m never going to answer your question like you want me to until you answer my question without PR.

            I use phones and devices bought in the USA. That’s how definitive your answers are to me.

          • balcobomber25

            So bought in the USA, built in China using components from China. You support “communism”!

        • Suleman Mughal

          lol, communism are u serious?? u wont be using it because it so called communist country?? u have issie my friend.

          • Marty

            Just very cautious. I don’t even trust Google or Apple. I trust a company in a communist regime much less.

    • Lucas

      You do realise that China isn’t Communist anymore they are more of a authoritarian capitalistic social society.

      • Marty

        It’s hard for an open, fully democratic society to keep political and corporate corruption in check. How much more rampant corruption is in an actual dictatorship like China.

        I don’t care how you praise China’s system. Until there are democratic elections and the leaders can be held fully accountable in their justice system, it’s still pure communism.

        • Lucas

          I don’t like China more than the next guy but you are confusing social and economic policy they have a capitalist economic policy for businesses but an extensive social policy for civilians and the government is fully authoritarian that’s why they have rampant corruption and no freedom. Communism is a economic policy not a government policy.

          • Marty

            Communism is evil. Plain and simple. Until there are democratic elections in China, anything about China is corrupt and evil…companies and all.

          • balcobomber25

            Because there are no countries with democratic elections that are evil or corrupt?

          • Marty

            Way to deflect! Any “regime” where the people are not the boss is evil. If the people don’t have the final say, it’s an evil regime. If the people don’t have a say in who leads, it’s an evil regime. In a democracy, the people say who leads. That’s why Trump is so popular in the U.S. The world leaders don’t want Trump leading America and many highly influential types in America don’t want him as the leader. But they can’t do sh*t about it because the *people* say who leads and who doesn’t.

            See how far any protest in China gets about the leaders there.

            By the way, this isn’t an endorsement of Trump, it’s an endorsement of the people’s will.

          • balcobomber25

            You really think the people have the say in the US? That is cute. The US is controlled by whoever pays the corrupt senate the most money. The US doesn’t even elect our president by a true democracy, the candidate with the most votes doesn’t mean a thing. The top 1% have the more say in the US than the rest of us.

          • Marty

            Yes. I really think the people put Obama in office.

          • balcobomber25

            Healthcare, Auto Industry and Wall Street put Obama in office and he rewarded them all ten times over which is why this country continues to sink further into debt. Btw where did he borrow all that money to bail out the Auto Industry and the Mortgage Lenders? China you say?

          • Marty

            I’m done with you. You obviously have an agenda. No point or purpose debating with you.

          • balcobomber25

            And your obviously are very delusional about how the world really works. But good luck with your Chinese made phone and all the hundreds of Chinese products you use everyday without even knowing it.

          • Marty

            If you believe a company in a communist regime is trustworthy, you are the one delusional.

          • balcobomber25

            If you believe a companies trust is based on the company they are located you are the one who is incredibly delusional.

          • balcobomber25

            based on the country*

          • Disgusted

            Balcobomber25 is a known Chinese shill, so good for you to stand up to him. He will lie constantly in order to cover up China’s culture of corruption, stealing, copying, and cheating.

            Only under normal circumstances should we not make judgments based on country of origin, but China is a big exception.

            The Chinese are one of the most unethical people in the world, and they are determined to hack into and spy on every developed nation to steal IP and trade secrets. Stealing, copying, and buying out struggling foreign companies is how China has made it this far, not by their own abilities.

            The only idiot is the giant idiot who buys any Chinese branded or Chinese owned product, which gives these criminals even more money to be able to do these buyouts.

            The Chinese already bought out IBM, Motorola, Volvo, Fisker, Sharp, Alcatel, AMC, Opera, and many others with the money WE gave them.

            You can be sure Opera will change and become riskier for users after the Chinese buy it, even if the Chinese publicly say they won’t because the Chinese are infamous liars. Just look at how they lied about the South China Sea for the most recent example out of many.

            It’s well known that thousands of Chinese shills troll Western websites in order to spread propaganda that cover up China’s evils. Kudos to you for standing up to it.

          • Marty

            I’m not advocating for or against Obama. I’m saying the election system of the people and by the people put him in office and put all other presidents in office. The election system is also going to put Hilary Clinton in office too. What the leader does while in office is a different matter and he/she will be subject to the justice system. Not so in a communist regime. In fact, trying to bring a communist leader to justice is usually met with death for everyone involved except the leader..

            If a company in a communist regime does anything undesirable to their consumers, nothing in that communist regime will bring about any kind of Justice if the leaders say no.

      • balcobomber25

        He is a tin foil hat wearing guy stuck in the 50’s.

  • Chris

    Should be against the law for Forigners to buy American compnies. Might be some terrorists organization or something…

    • Randy N. Gaston

      Are you being humorous or didn’t you read the part that says it is a Norwegian company?

    • I’m more than sure that the biggest terrorist organization is American.

      • balcobomber25

        Apple?

        • Nah. Bigger than Apple.

          • balcobomber25

            Ahh ExxonMobil, that seems about right most Big Oil is highly corrupt.

    • balcobomber25

      Opera is based in Norway….

  • firdous

    It will be very disappointing if they mess things up…. I am using opera ever since i started using phones. Opera mini is my main browser… Now chinese are taking over it so security is also a concern. Sadly no other competitor is available…. To move

    • muratservan

      I move to Vivaldi and help them to make them better browser.
      Goodbye Opera.

    • Hi Firdous,

      Nothing has changed with the way we handle data. We have servers in different locations worldwide and there is no plan to change or move them.

      We appreciate your concern :)
      /AE

      • firdous

        Thanks for replying opera… I hope opera mini will stay like the way it is. Otherwise poor people like me who have no broadband and use mobile data for browsing will have nowhere to go…
        Opera max is also doing great… It is one of the best data management app and YouTube compression is unbelievable.. :D

  • Karly Johnston

    Chinese buyout… where companies go to die.

    • The acquisition deal is not yet finalized and we want to assure our users that in any resulting scenario, Opera will remain the Norwegian company you know and trust. :)
      /AE

      • How can you be really sure?

        • balcobomber25

          No one can be sure. Just like you can’t be sure that Firefox (or any other browser) won’t have some nasty virus or spyware in the next update. Just have to wait and see.

      • Suleman Mughal

        we hope so,

    • Cicero

      Looking at Volvo I can say you are wrong.

      • Karly Johnston

        I guess that is why 70% of Chinese overseas acquisitions fail?

        • balcobomber25

          Largely depends on the company/industry more so than the country. According to Harvard Business School worldwide between 70-90% of all buyouts/mergers will fail. Happens in all countries not just China.

          • Karly Johnston

            According to Forbes it is 50% world-wide. China brings down the average while the West has higher success rates.

          • balcobomber25

            There are about a dozen different studies done on US business failures of mergers and acquisitions that put the numbers from anywhere to 50% to 90%. Same with China, it really just depends on the source you use. The numbers between China and the US (as well as the rest of the major economies) really aren’t that different. Especially when you take into account the size of the economy. Most mergers and acquisitions end up failing regardless of which country it is in. Some end up very successful like Volvo as pointed out above or AMC theaters in the US which has been Chinese owned since 2012.

        • Cicero

          I can show you large numbers of american, french, norvegian or german businesses acquisitions fails. That’s business, man.

      • balcobomber25

        China has done excellent job with Volvo.

        • Cicero

          It is what I’m saying. And it is not the only one success story.

          • balcobomber25

            People around here see “China” and get scared. They don’t realize many of the products they use everyday come from China and several major American brands are owned by Chinese companies.

  • thenub

    Anyone know if fastmail is a part of the deal too?

    • thenub

      Nvm. Fastmail staff bought themselves out of opera 2 years ago.

  • Howard Stern ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    a way for the Chinese to bake some shady stuff into Opera? Looks like I will be steering clear of Opera from here on out. Guess I’ll be going back to good ol Chrome.

  • neiliewheeliebin

    Wow that’s big bucks,ill take it as a sign they intend to keep Opera well maintained

    • balcobomber25

      They wouldn’t invest that much if they didn’t. The opera name is too big for them to end production of it.

  • SantaClausless

    Time to uninstall!!

  • If this goes the way of any apps like Quickpic or ES File Explorer post-acquisition, that’ll be the start of the end for Opera’s hardcore users.

  • Emerson

    I remember using Opera a few times before, now it won’t be trusted anymore.

  • bakakun028

    Well, time to uninstall opera max… Can anyone recommend an alternative?

    • balcobomber25

      Opera Mini.

  • Suleman Mughal

    that sad. i have been using opera for long time, its browser for phone was the best and it is the best android browsing app there is in the market.

  • XY

    the uninstalled game has already begun. I refuse to use software owned by shady Chinese investors

  • Choda Boy

    And this is why I will never install Opera again.