Facebook eyeing Opera for $1bn?

Social network set to snap up the swift mobile browser?
Darren Allan

May 29, 2012

It’s clear that Facebook needs to advance itself in the mobile arena, and the social network could be about to take another step in that direction.

Facebook’s IPO has shown investors’ concern about the long term value of the company, and sustainability of its advertising revenue.

And as smartphones become ever more popular, it’s clear mobile is a problem area for the desktop-centric social network.

Hence Facebook isn’t hanging around when it comes to pushing itself forward on the mobile front, with moves such as the recent bid to purchase photo sharing service Instagram, for $1 billion. That was pretty much a defensive measure to take out what could have been a major rival and thorn in Facebook’s side, in the future on the mobile front.

And now Facebook could be set to make another $1 billion plus purchase, again way over the odds, this time for Opera. The browser is well known for its mobile version which uses specialised compression techniques to keep site loading speeds as snappy as possible.

Arctic Securities told Reuters: “Opera would be sensible for Facebook on several levels. 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 the lack of a mobile platform and further improve Facebook’s ability to target ads.”

And yes, all this does make sense. Google, however, is unlikely to stand by and just watch this happen – and could well push up the bidding for Opera further. Still, Zuckerberg bid double what analysts figure Instagram is worth, so we certainly wouldn’t put it past him going well overboard once again.

Facebook also has plans for its own brand smartphone, which may – or may not – be built by HTC, and could be out as soon as next year.


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