Chinese Consortium’s £900m Opera Takeover Fails

Chinese internet consortium’s takeover bid fails to meet regulatory approval, instead picks up parts of Opera’s business for £450m

The $1.2 billion (£900m) takeover of Norwegian browser maker Opera has failed to gain regulatory approval, the chairman of the company said on Monday.

Opera Software had been lined up to be taken over by a consortium of Chinese internet companies.


But the deal failed to go ahead by the deadline last Friday, forcing the consortium, which includes mobile gaming firm Beijing Kunlun Tech Co and security vendor Qihoo 360 Technology Co to offer up an alternative deal.

AlibabaInstead, the consortium will take over parts of Opera Software’s business for a sum of $600 million (£450m), according to Opera.

Opera’s chairman Sverre Munck declined to comment on whether the approval was not given by either China or the United States, but noted “it was not a negative outcome” in a conference call.

Opera itself warned that regulatory approval might not be given last week. The final deadline for the offer, and the deadline for approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment were both on Friday 15 July.

The consortium will no fail to take over Opera’s market and advertising business, its TV services business, or any gaming related apps.

“Closing of the transaction is expected to take place during the second half of the third quarter of 2016,” Opera said.

New services

Opera has had a busy first half of 2016, rolling out new services to its web and mobile customers. Native ad blocking was introduced to iOS and Windows Phone versions of Opera to block ‘intrusive’ ads last month. Before that, Opera added the feature to Android and desktop editions of its browser.

Opera said it is not against advertising as such, it wants publishers to recognise the impact bloated ads have on web speeds, privacy and security and use more efficient, safer creatives.

“Users are demanding ad blockers because of the better browsing experience it offers,” says Nuno Sitima, senior vice president of Mobile Browsers, Opera. “Opera users can speed up their mobile surfing, skip extra data charges and stretch their internet packages even further by blocking in the browser intrusive and data-wasting ads and heavy tracking.”

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