Opera Buys Video Specialist for $50m

Opera has bought the Skyfire mobile technology company for $50m to improve its browser’s multimedia capabilities and get a foothold in the US.

Skyfire already has three large US operators using its software and is in trials with ten others around the world. Performance based earn-out payments over three years could bring the total deal size to $155m.

The company’s Rocket Optimizer uses the cloud to reduce the size of multimedia content to improve the performance of mobile networks. By detecting poor connections, the technology minimises  buffering time and other interruptions to video and audio streams. Skyfire Horizon enables smartphone users to customise their browser and opens up a further revenue opportunity for operators.

The companies have plans to improve Opera’s Web Pass offering, which currently allows consumers to purchase data plans including an unlimited ‘day pass’ for apps, to enable operators to offer toll free or ad-supported packages.

“Both companies have evolved far beyond their browser roots,” said Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera Software. “Skyfire adds capabilities to our portfolio around video, app optimisation, 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.”

Jeffrey Glueck, CEO of Skyfire will become EVP of the operator business unit at Opera along with his existing role.

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