Opera Software considers sale after lowering financial expectations

Browser maker also acquired Brazilian app discovery service Bemobi amid reduced financial expectations

Opera Software's logo

Opera Software's logo

Opera Software, the company behind the Web browser of the same name, may be seeking a buyer after the company announced lowered expectations for its quarterly and annual financial results.

The Norwegian browser maker previously said that it expected revenue of $630 million - 650 million in 2015, but revised that figure Friday to between $600 million and $618 million. It also said that its quarterly revenue would be $146 million, which is at the very bottom of its guidance range for the quarter and $5 million below the expectations of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

Opera's reduced expectations are a result of lower-than-anticipated returns from company's mobile advertising business, specifically the non-Instant Play video advertising products from AdColony. While Opera is probably best known for its Web browser, the company actually makes most of its money from its advertising business.

As a result of what Opera calls "strategic interest" in the company from a number of other parties, the firm's board of directors has begun evaluating its options. Opera is working with ABG Sundal Collier and Morgan Stanley International as advisors in the process, which it expects to complete during the second half of this year. It's not yet clear who the interested suitors are.

The company also recently purchased Bemobi, a Brazilian company that offers a Netflix-like subscription service for premium mobile apps.

All of this news comes at an action-packed time for the markets Opera competes in. Apple's upcoming release of iOS 9 will allow users to install and run content blocking extensions in Safari that can block the display of mobile Web ads on the iPhone and iPad. Meanwhile, Microsoft's Windows 10 includes a new browser with a new engine the company promises is better than Internet Explorer. When users upgrade to the company's new operating system, Microsoft sets Edge as the default browser regardless of a user's previous preference.

All of this adds up to a bumpy market for Opera's offerings, especially since the company is competing against the likes of Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple and other Web titans.

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Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
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