Facebook in talks to buy Opera for US$1 billion?

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Image: Tom Solari/techgeek.com.au

Get ready for another big acquisition from Facebook. The company is rumoured to be discussing with Opera Software to buy the firm, and analysts are saying that a deal could potentially be somewhere in the $1 billion to $1.2 billion range.

Why? Analysts are pointing to its deal with Google that makes it the default search provider for Opera Mini and Opera Mobile. And for Opera, it would need a pretty hefty premium in order to go to Facebook and ditch Google.

Opera’s desktop software may not be getting the same number of users as Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari or Firefox; however, its main strength is its mobile products. The company’s Opera Mini browser has over 170 million users, and is present on many platforms – including on BlackBerry, Android and iOS. Those numbers, plus its technologies and its relationships with carriers and phone manufacturers, could be attractive to Facebook to find some sort of coherent mobile strategy.

According to one analyst, speaking to Reuters, “Opera would be sensible for Facebook on several levels as it would enhance the now limited mobile experience of Facebook, improve Facebook’s mobile monetization problem, help Facebook retain online game developers leaving the social network over a lacking mobile platform and further improve Facebook’s ability to target ads.”

Opera has not commented on the deal, and its founder and largest shareholder Jon S. Von Tetzchner has said that he has not heard of the deal, but isn’t opposed to it. However, Tetzchner adds that he wished the firm should “focus on growth and delivering good results” and that he isn’t pushing for a takeover.

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