Chinese Consortium’s $1.2 Billion Deal to Buy Opera’s Ad Business Falls Through

Privacy concerns around app maker were sticking point

A purposed acquisition from three Chinese internet firms to buy mobile giant Opera for $1.2 billion has fallen through.

In February, the trio of firms—Qihoo 360, Kunlun and Golden Brick Silk Road—announced that it had put in an offer to acquire Opera (including both its web browser product and advertising assets). Opera's board of directors then sent a note to investors recommending that they take the buyout offers.

Now, questions from U.S. authorities around privacy concerns in Opera Mediaworks—the company's advertising arm—caused part of the deal to fall through, reports Reuters. The group of Chinese players said that they do not plan to buy the app maker's advertising, gaming or TV businesses. Instead, the companies will buy Opera's browser as well as its technologies, licensing business and its performance and privacy apps divisions for $600 million.

Eliminating the mobile company's advertising and marketing businesses is expected to speed up the acquisition process, but also speaks to the regulatory challenges for tech companies and digital marketers in moving into China.

The new deal is expected to close by the end of the third quarter.

"After further negotiations, the consortium has agreed to acquire Opera's consumer business (browser and app) only for a price of $600 million, as it has the most synergies with the current business of the Chinese consortium of companies," Opera Mediaworks' CEO Will Kassoy said in a blog post. "Given the outcome, Opera Mediaworks will continue to operate as before as a U.S.-based entity."

Kassoy added that the Opera Mediaworks leadership will remain intact and his company is in the process of bringing all of its ad products into one platform.

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