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Opera Software Just Bought Skyfire Labs

Opera Software said on Friday that it acquired Silicon Valley-based Skyfire Labs, the developer behind the popular mobile browser and its key underlying Rocket Optimizer mobile video optimization technology.

Thanks to its elastic and virtualization-friendly cloud architecture, Skyfire's Rocket Optimizer software allows mobile operators to leverage cloud computing to optimize virtually any video and other multimedia on crowded cell towers, including 3G and 4G LTE networks. It minimalizes load times, buffering and stalls in both video and audio.

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

Also in Skyfire's portfolio is the Skyfire Horizon mobile browser extension and toolbar platform. This allows users to personalize their smartphone browser while generating revenue for operators. There's also the Skyfire Web Browser for various platforms which promises the delivery of Flash-based video, even on Apple iOS devices.

"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 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, the company said.

According to the $155 million USD deal, the acquisition price includes a mix of cash and stock, with an upfront consideration of $50 million that also includes $8 million of cash on the Skyfire balance sheet. The deal also includes performance based earn-out payments over three years, including $26 million USD in cash held in escrow and funded upfront.

Once the acquisition deal closes, Skyfire CEO Jeffery Glueck will assume the role of EVP of the Operator Business for Opera while keeping his current CEO position. He will oversee the joint offerings for Opera across Opera Mini co-brand solutions for Operators and Skyfire’s product lines.

Opera said that Skyfire will remain an independent entity as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Opera, and will continue to develop and support the Skyfire browser. The acquisition itself is expected to close before March 15, 2013.


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