November 21, 2016 / 2:16 PM / 3 years ago

Opera CEO says no longer aiming for acquisitions or divestment

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway’s Opera Software OPERA.OL no longer plans to buy or sell companies and will instead stay focused on developing its mobile advertising units after the recent divestment of a key business, chief executive Lars Boilesen told Reuters on Monday.

In charge since 2010, Boilesen initially expanded Opera’s business through a string of acquisitions before putting the whole company up for sale in mid-2015, though in the end only parts of the firm, the internet browser business and related units, were sold.

The close to $600 million proceeds from divesting Opera’s consumer business, a transaction that was finalised in early November, will not be used to buy more companies, Boilesen said.

The company is expected to use several hundred million dollars on an extraordinary dividend and share buybacks.

“New acquisitions from our side are highly unlikely,” Boilesen told Reuters. He also dismissed suggestions by some analysts and investors that the mobile advertising business could be sold shortly.

“We have just been through a very long and demanding strategic process and I’m certain we won’t launch another one now. It is way too time consuming and disruptive... We are left with a very exciting company… I think a lot of things will happen for us in 2017.”

Skyfire, an online cloud-based service for operators of mobile phone networks, one of Opera’s last acquisitions, will probably turn profitable in 2017, Boilesen added.

“I think it will happen pretty fast… I am sure it will make money already next year,” he said.

Reporting by Joachim Dagenborg, editing by Terje Solsvik

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