Chinese Internet Firms Bid $1.23 Billion for Opera Software

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By Jacob Maslow

A group of internet firms in China have made a $1.23 billion cash deal for Norway’s Opera Software (STO: OPERAO), an advertising firm and mobile phone browser. The firms hope to reach more users in emerging markets where Opera is a popular choice.

Among the many buyers include Qihoo 360 (NYSE:QIHU), a U.S.-listed Web search and security firm, and the Beijing-based Kunlun Tech (SHE:300418), a mobile and online games distributor. The firms have agreed to pay $8.29 per share, which equates to 10 times the company’s forecasted core earnings.

If the deal goes through, it will result in a mobile Internet combination of Golden Brick, Opera, Qihoo, and Kunlun.

The acquisition is a part of a series of deals being carried out by Chinese buyers who are looking to work together to better compete with larger rivals, like Tencent (HKG:0700) and Alibaba (BABA). In addition, Opera will help the group expand into emerging markets in Africa, Asia and in other parts of the world.

Shares for Opera soared as much as 41% on the news, and was up 37% to 67 crowns at 7AM ET.

Sverre Munck, Chairman of Opera, told Reuters on Wednesday that it’s “essential” for the company to find partners if it hopes to compete with other technology giants in the world.

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