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Opera Acquires a WhiteLabel Netflix-Like App Service, Considers Selling Itself

Opera-icon-high-resWeb tech company Opera announced on Saturday that it had missed its second-quarter revenue forecasts and was thinking of finding a buyer, but that hasn’t stopped its strategic acquisitions.

TechCrunch caught the press release on Friday, reporting that:

Browser maker Opera today announced that it has acquired Bemobia subscription-based mobile-app-discovery service with a focus on the Latin American market. Opera expects the acquisition to close in the third quarter of 2015. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Like most (all?) of Opera’s other revenue sources, Bemobi is a B2B company. They don’t offer the subscription service to consumers. Instead, they sell it to telecoms so it can be bundled into a subscriber’s monthly cell phone bill. Bemobi boasts 500 million users and an extensive range of apps from indie and major developers.


Opera has no similar service, but they do have a number of different services to offer to telecoms, including App Pass (a metered access platform for apps) and Sponsored Pass (ad-subsidized web access). There’s also the data compression tech used in Opera Max.

Opera has all sorts of nifty tech, but what they don’t have is enough revenue. Reuters says that the company is exploring a sale.

Online advertising and browser firm Opera Sofware is considering a sale of the company after missing second-quarter revenue forecasts and cutting its full-year expectations, the board of the Norwegian company said on Saturday.

The search for a buyer, or other forms of partnership, comes "in response to strategic interest in the company from a number of parties", and will be aided by bankers at Morgan Stanley International and ABG Sundal Collier, it added in a statement.

The strategic review will be concluded in the second half of 2015.

Opera said the early numbers showed its second-quarter revenues had grown by 45% to $146 million, but apparently that wasn’t enough for analysts, who expected 51% growth.

The firm expected adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $29 million, while analysts on average had expected earnings of $30.6 million.

Given that revenue was up year over year and that the company was profitable, "unhappy analysts" strikes me as a rather dumb reason to sell the company. But perhaps there’s some detail they’re not sharing that would explain it.

image by Johan Larsson

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