Chinese $1.2 billion takeover of Norway’s Opera fails, but alternative deal set

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A Logo of Qihoo 360 is seen in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, November 2, 2014. Picture taken November 2, 2014. REUTERS/China Daily
A Logo of Qihoo 360 is seen in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, November 2, 2014. Picture taken November 2, 2014.

Reuters/China Daily

A $1.24 billion agreed takeover of Norwegian online browser and advertising company Opera Software by a Chinese consortium of internet firms has failed, Opera said on Monday, after warning last week the deal had yet to win regulatory approval.

As an alternative, the consortium, which includes search and security business Qihoo 360 Technology Co and Beijing Kunlun Tech Co, a distributor of online and mobile games, will take over certain parts of Opera’s consumer business for $600 million, Opera said in a statement.

The Norwegian firm did not specify the reasons on Monday for the scuttling of the deal other than to say that conditions to close the public offer were not met.

The deal had needed the approval of Chinese and U.S. authorities, but last week Opera warned that regulatory approval had yet to be received, without specifying whether approval from China, the United States, or both, was lacking.

The offer’s final deadline and the deadline for approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States were both Friday.

The Chinese consortium now plans to acquire Opera’s browser business, both for mobile phones and desktop computers, the performance and privacy apps section of the company as well as its technology licensing business and its stake in Chinese joint venture nHorizon, Opera said.

It will not acquire Opera’s advertising and marketing business, its TV operations, nor the apps that are game-related.

“Closing of the transaction is expected to take place during the second half of the third quarter of 2016,” it said.

The revised deal has been approved by Opera’s board of directors, Opera said.

(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)