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Chinese companies want to buy Opera for $1.2 billion

And it sounds like the browser-maker will accept the deal.

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You might think of Opera as a forgotten browser from the pre-Chrome era that you haven't used in years. But a group of Chinese companies value it highly enough to put a whopping $1.2 billion buyout offer on the table. The Norwegian company has confirmed that it has recently received an acquisition offer from Kunlun Tech and Qihoo 360, backed by Golden Brick Silk Road and Yonglian investment firms. Kunlun Tech is a gaming company that bought a majority stake in gay dating app Grindr in January, while Qihoo is an antivirus- and browser-maker.

By offering to buy Opera for $1.2 billion or 10.3 billion Norwegian Kroner, the group is essentially valuing the company at around NOK71 per share. That's 53 or so percent higher than Opera's closing price on February 4th, before rumors of a buyout started going around. Oslo's stock exchange stopped trading its shares a couple of days ago, and the company has postponed its earnings calls scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Opera's response to the offer? Well, Recode says its board is "unanimously recommending shareholders [to] approve the takeover." Its chief executive Lars Boilesen said in a statement:

There is strong strategic and industrial logic to the acquisition of Opera by the Consortium. 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.

Opera's willingness to approve the buyout doesn't come as a surprise, considering it's been actively looking for a buyer since 2015. Besides its desktop browser, it's also known for its mobile browsers that compress websites and videos before delivering them, as well as its mobile advertising business.

[Image credit: dismappa verona/Flickr (from Puccini's opera Turandot, set in China)]

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