Opera Software Scoops Up Mobile Browser Rival Skyfire Labs

Paul Lilly

Performance based earn-out payments over the next three years could make this deal worth $155 million.

Opera Software today announced that it has acquired Skyfire Labs, a rival in the mobile browser space, in a deal that could be worth as much $155 million when all the checks are written. The Norwegian browser maker agreed to pay $50 million in cash and stocks upfront (including $8 million in cash on the Skyfire balance sheet), and will also make performance based earn-out payments over the next three years that could ultimately value the deal at $155 million.

The Skyfire web browser is popular in the mobile space because it allows iOS users to watch Flash videos on their iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. It's also known for its Rocket Optimizer software, which allows mobile operators to leverage cloud computing to optimize video and other multimedia content on crowded cell towers. According to Opera Software, Rocket Optimizer on average provides mobile networks a 60 percent boost in capacity simply by reducing the size of video and multimedia content as needed.

"Opera and Skyfire are a natural fit," said Lars Boilesen , CEO, Opera Software. "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."

Skyfire will remain an independent entity as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Opera and will continue to develop and support the Skyfire browser. In addition, Opera Software says the two companies will release a new set of joint products over the coming years, and will look to expand on Opera's Web Pass offering.

The deal is expected to close by March 15, 2013.

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