Opera Software acquires Skyfire for $155 million

MUMBAI: Norwegian software company Opera Software has acquired Silicon Valley based Skyfire Labs, a leader in mobile video optimisation and cloud solutions for mobility.

The acquisition price includes a mix of cash and stock, with an upfront consideration of $50 million (including US$8 million of cash on the Skyfire balance sheet) and performance based earn-out payments over three years, including $26 million in cash held in escrow and funded upfront, that can bring the total deal size to $55 million.

The Opera acquisition of Skyfire is expected to close before 15 March.

Skyfire, headquartered in Mountain View, California, is known for its Rocket Optimiser software. This allows mobile operators to leverage cloud computing to optimise virtually any video and other multimedia on crowded cell towers, including 3G and 4G LTE networks.

Rocket Optimiser on average provides mobile networks a 60 per cent boost in capacity by reducing the size of video and other multimedia content as needed to fit the available bandwidth. Skyfire can detect when specific users are facing poor quality of experience or connections that need assistance, and intervene in milliseconds.

Skyfire also offers Skyfire Horizon, a mobile browser extension and toolbar platform that allows users to personalise their smartphone browser and operators to gain new monetisation opportunities. Skyfire has honed its technology through a variety of top-selling consumer applications, which have more than 20 million worldwide downloads to date.

Skyfire currently counts three large U.S. mobile operators as customers for its Rocket Optimizer and Skyfire Horizon solutions, and is in trials with ten other operators around the world.

“Opera and Skyfire are a natural fit,” said Opera Software CEO Lars Boilesen. “Both companies have evolved far beyond their browser roots. Skyfire adds capabilities to our portfolio around video, app optimization, smartphones and tablets, and strength in North America. With video expected to consume over two-thirds of global mobile bandwidth by 2015, and as time spent on Android and iOS apps explodes, we are excited to extend Opera’s solutions for operators.”

After the deal closes, Glueck will assume the role of EVP of the Operator Business for Opera, as well as CEO of Skyfire, and will oversee the joint offerings for Opera across Opera Mini co-brand solutions for Operators and Skyfire’s product lines. Skyfire will remain an independent entity as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Opera, and will continue to develop and support the Skyfire browser.

The two companies envision a powerful new set of joint products to be released over the coming year by combining their talents and know-how. In particular, they look to expand on Opera’s Web Pass offering, which allows consumers to purchase innovative data plans such as an unlimited ‘day pass’ of popular apps and web sites for an affordable price, thanks to video and data optimisation.

WebPass can enable new business models for operators, such as toll free data, ad-supported data, and more.

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