Mobile Giant Opera Software Is Close to Selling to Chinese Players for $1.2 Billion

Its ad revenue hit $145 million in Q4

Opera's mobile ad business has grown significantly. Getty Images

A consortium of Chinese Internet-focused investors—Golden Brick Silk Road, Kunlun and Qihoo 360—have put in an offer to buy mobile software and advertising player Opera for $1.2 billion.

On Wednesday, Opera's board of directors sent out a statement to its investors recommending that the company take the buyout offer. In other words, it's close to being a done deal.

"There is strong strategic and industrial logic to the acquisition of Opera by the consortium," said Opera's CEO Lars Boilesen in a statement. "We believe that the consortium, with its breadth of expertise and strong market position in emerging markets, will be a strong owner of Opera. The consortium's ownership will strengthen Opera's position to serve our users and partners with even greater innovation, and to accelerate our plans of expansion and growth."

While Opera is often recognized for its Web browser software, the company has also built a strong mobile advertising business with its Opera Mediaworks arm over the past three years, particularly in mobile video.

During the fourth quarter of 2015, Opera reported $193.5 million in revenue, with mobile advertising accounting for $145.4 million.

In 2014, Opera acquired AdColony for $350 million and launched an in-house creative studio last year dubbed Opera House, which helps agencies build mobile video campaigns. Opera's clients include Carl's Jr. and Stoli.

Opera was one of the last, big independent mobile ad networks. After AOL acquired Millennnial Media last year for $238 million, industry experts speculated that Opera may also be on the chopping block.

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