Opera acquires two mobile ad companies

The company wants to make more money from the traffic generated via its mobile browsers

Opera Software has acquired Mobile Theory and 4th Screen Advertising in an effort to boost its push into the mobile advertising space, the Norwegian company said on Thursday.

Opera is paying a combined US$10 million [m] in cash up front for both companies, as well as an additional sum based on individual performance, a spokesman at Opera said via email.

Mobile Theory and 4th Screen Advertising are both mobile advertising networks. The latter has been focused on the European market, while Mobile Theory has concentrated on the U.S., according to Opera.

The company wants to make more money on the traffic that flows through the Mini and Mobile browsers, and the acquisitions will allow it to expand offerings to advertisers and publishers that want to reach consumers via applications and the web, across iOS, Android, BlackBerry OS, Java and Symbian, the company said.

This isn't Opera's first purchase related to mobile ads. In 2010, the company bought AdMarvel, which had developed a product suite to manage how ads are delivered to mobile phones.

The acquisitions are a good fit for Opera, and will give it more scale, which is important in the advertising sector, according to Paolo Pescatore, analyst at CCS Insight.

The mobile ad space is getting increasingly competitive, and Opera is up against huge companies such as Google and Apple. Also, Facebook is rumored to be adding mobile advertising next month as it tries to find new sources for revenue.

The mobile advertising market has slowly started to mature, but no company has so far managed to crack the master formula, according to Pescatore.

Mobile advertising revenue is expected to reach $20.6 billion by 2015, according to market research company Gartner.

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