Allison Schiff contributed.
The fat lady hasn't sung, but it appears likely that a group of Chinese companies will acquire Opera and its lucrative mobile advertising business.
Oslo-based Opera told investors Wednesday that it had received a buyout offer of $1.2 billion led by investment fund Golden Brick Silk Road, along with security software player Kunlun and Beijing-based mobile gaming company Kunlun, also known as Kalends. (Kunlun ponied up $93 million for a majority stake, 60%, in gay dating app Grindr in January.)
The company's board has recommended shareholders take the offer.
Opera includes Opera Mediaworks, a mobile ad network reaching more than 1 billion users that operates as a subsidiary of the software company most widely known for its desktop and mobile browser products.
A smorgasbord of acquisitions live under the Opera Mediaworks brand, including AdColony (mobile video ad network); AdMarvel (mobile ad serving); AdVine, Mobile Theory, Apprupt and 4th Screen (mobile ad networks); Skyfire Labs (mobile video optimization); Hunt Mobile Ads (mobile monetization); and Handster (mobile app store platform).
Mediaworks is the bulk of Opera’s business. The mobile ad tech’s Q4 2015 revenue was $145.4 million, and total company Q4 revenue was $193.5 million. The Chinese contingent is likely more interested in Opera’s mobile ad chops rather than its browser business.
Compare that to Millennial Media before it got snapped up by AOL. In Q2 2015, Mediaworks saw nearly $93 million in revenue. During its final earnings report as a standalone company in Q2 2015, Millennial reported $65.8 million in revenue for the quarter.
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