Opera Founder Sells Controlling Shares, Could Pave Way For Acquisition

Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv reports Opera co-founder Jon S. von Tetzchner has sold shares in the company valued between NOK 180 and 200 million (€24-27 million), as shown in recently released shareholders' statements. After the sale Tetzchner has 5.18% ownership stake in Opera, which is below the 10% limit where Von Tetzchner could have blocked acquisition deals.

Dagens Næringsliv reports on the history of Von Tetzchner's relationship with the publicly traded browser company:

Von Tetzchner resigned as chief executive Opera in 2010 after disagreements over strategy of the company, and last summer he was completely out of the company after he resigned as a strategic advisor. Since then, a number of key people from von Tetzchner reign have withdrawn. In late December 2011 ceased development director Christen Krogh , who took with him including former Chief Strategy Officer Rolf Assev.

In May the rumor mill was churning out noise that Facebook was eying Opera for a potential acquisition. Opera has been innovating in the mobile browser front, which could cut browsing costs for users on mobile devices.

Such a strategy would make sense in emerging markets, where many internet users connect exclusively through their mobile phones. Lithuanian-based Eskimi is killing it in Nigeria, for example, for offering a lightweight social network without the boat of Facebook's app.

Will this add more fuel to the rumor mill? Last May feels like 2 years ago in tech news terms. Who knows if the timing is still right for Facebook, or if other companies are interested, but this lack of a controlling stake paves the way for a potential buyout in the future.

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