Opera acquires mobile browser rival Skyfire Labs for up to $155M
Opera Software has acquired rival mobile browser maker Skyfire Labs in a cash and stock deal that could be worth as much as $155 million. The deal includes an upfront consideration of $50 million, bolstered by performance-based payments over the next three years.
Skyfire is best known for its eponymous browser, available across Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platforms. Skyfire for iPhone allows consumers to run Adobe Flash-based content, working around Apple's restrictions on the Flash runtime by translating video content into the HTML5 Web standard.
Skyfire also offers Rocket Optimizer, a cloud-based solution that automatically reduces the size of video and multimedia content to fit the available bandwidth, promising mobile operators a 60 percent boost in network capacity. Its product portfolio additionally includes Skyfire Horizon, a mobile browser extension and toolbar platform enabling carriers to integrate recommendations, promotions and advertising.
Skyfire's products fit comfortably within Opera's own portfolio: Its signature Opera Mini mobile browser compresses up to 90 percent of data to improve speed and reduce costs, and its Mediaworks advertising unit--which includes previous acquisition AdMarvel, Mobile Theory and 4th Screen Advertising--will complement Skyfire Horizon to offer operators a complete turnkey solution including ad optimization, ad sales and analytics.
The Opera/Skyfire agreement is expected to close before March 15. Skyfire will continue operating independently as a wholly owned Opera subsidiary and will continue to develop and support the Skyfire browser. Skyfire CEO Jeff Glueck will retain his current title and assume the role of executive vice president of Opera's operator business.
More than 300 million consumers worldwide now use Opera's browsers each month across all platforms. The company also touts relationships with more than 100 carriers worldwide. Earlier this week, Opera confirmed it will scrap its Presto rendering engine in favor of WebKit, a move to increase its competitiveness on Android and iOS. It will preview its first WebKit-powered Android browser later this month at the Mobile World Congress 2013 event.
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